India vs Pakistan second T20I : Preview
An obstinate India will take on an optimistic Pakistan in another high voltage clash at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
India will look to fire in unison as a batting unit and captain MS Dhoni will have to rethink his strategy in the death overs as India lost the plot in the final overs of the last two matches. Gambhir and Rahane look settled at the top of the batting order, but the former has to score runs at a better rate to ease the pressure off Rahane. Rohit Sharma has been a huge disappointment in the middle order and he has to get runs off the willow before he gets under the selectors’ hammer. Yuvraj, Kohli, Dhoni and Raina have failed to maintain consistency with the bat and it is high time they make bigger scores to level the series. Ambati Rayudu might also be given a chance to replace the misfiring Rohit Sharma.
Jadeja was picked in the previous match ahead of R. Ashwin, and it will be a surprise if he is retained for the Ahmedabad T20I. India’s only consolation in the Bangalore encounter was the performances of the Indian fast bowlers, especially that of young all-rounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who won hearts all around the nation with a splendid display of swing bowling. Ishant Sharma and Ashoke Dinda also impressed everyone with some subtle bowling in the death. India, in all possibilities, will retain this trio, and will be hugely dependent on them to trouble their arch-rivals.
On the other hand, Pakistan are upbeat about their five-wicket victory and will be hoping to produce yet another victory over the hosts. Pakistan will be very happy about their bowling performance and they will need the top order to come good to win the series. Young guns Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed were sent in to open last match and they could well be given another chance to stake their claims, with Pakistan having a strong middle-order to backup the openers. Shoaib Malik and Hafeez looked comfortable and set in the previous match and the team will count a lot on them, while the Akmal brothers were dismissed cheaply last match and they could be expected to fire, given their ability with the bat. And then they have the unpredictable Shahid Afridi.
Bowling has been Pakistan’s strength right from their inception and with bowlers like Umar Gul and Sohail Tanveer in their ranks, the Indian batsmen could struggle. Adding to that, the presence of the giant Mohammad Irfan could spell trouble for batsmen like Raina and Gambhir. Saeed Ajmal has been arguably the world’s best spinner in the current scenario and he, along with Afridi and Hafeez hold the key to a Pakistani victory.
The Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad has never hosted a T20I before this match and this is believed to be a flat track with the batsmen possibly making merry. The dew could definitely be a major factor and the toss could prove crucial as the side chasing the match has won on all three occasions in India this month.
Yuvraj Singh could be the man to watch out for Pakistan as he has the ability to turn matches around at any point with both bat and ball. He looked in sublime touch against England, especially with the ball, but Malik and Hafeez were successful in reading his mind in Bengaluru. Nobody has to mention about his power-hitting and he might want to have some fun with Ajmal and Afridi. The comeback king could deliver good fortunes for India.
Saeed Ajmal would be the key for Pakistan and it was his open challenge against the Indian batsmen before the series that set the mood for the biggest rivalry clash, and India’s fiery middle-order will definitely look to have a go at him after he bamboozled Dhoni and Raina in the first match.
Gambhir, Rahane, Kohli, Yuvraj, Raina, Rohit/Rayudu, Dhoni, Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar, Ishant, Dinda.
Jamshed, Shehzad, Hafeez, Malik, Umar Akmal/Asad Shafiq, Kamran, Afridi, Gul, Ajmal, Irfan, Tanveer.
After Pakistan drew first blood in Bengaluru, there could be a spirited comeback from the Indian batsmen to draw the series level with their arch-rivals on the ground where they won the first test against England last month.