India-Pakistan clash to boost Super 12 stage

The biggest sporting event on the planet this week will be played Sunday night in Australia.

From around 7 p.m. (AEDT); 1:30 p.m. in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai; 1 p.m. in Lahore, Karachi, Sheikhpura and various points in the Hindu Kush; along the Karakoram Highway and on the Grand Trunk Route, televisions and electronics will be charged and tuned. The audience will expand across the world. Never has the term “diffusion” been so appropriate. The sub-continental diaspora will be glued to the images emanating from the MCG.

Whoever, at the ICC office, organized the calendar for this Twenty20 World Cup for a consecutive year can bow down. The qualifying matches, which represent a mini-tournament in their own right, were captivating. The great powers of the West Indies and Sri Lanka have felt the blowtorch and the anxiety-inducing desire of the semi-professionals. The standard of the next country level is increasing in all areas. The increased opportunities they have received thanks to the COVID-shortened intervals between World Cups have been a factor in their ability to compete with the top flight.

India and Pakistan didn’t have to face the unwanted strain or pressure of qualifying as their world rankings earned them automatic inclusion. Both teams enjoyed pre-tournament success in the warm-up series, but India skipper Rohit Sharma rightly pointed to the different conditions of higher rebound and wider borders in the south, and his side arrived two weeks later. early to try to adapt.

Sharma and his opening partner KL Rahul will have to be flexible. The new ball in Australia generally gives bowlers something to work with, whether it’s a few degrees of swing, a centimeter of seam or an extra coil of bounce – but not for too many overs. The La Nina weather phenomenon could play a role on the east coast, while games in the center or west could be more traditional.

All that extra moisture will affect both the pitch and the atmosphere, making the new ball a spicier review than normal, which would be quite nice. Sharma, Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli vs. Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah should provide mouth-watering viewing, magnified by a rapacious MCG crowd.

Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam. Credit:Getty

India dropped out at the Super 12 stage of last year’s World Cup under Kohli’s stewardship. With the huge prima facie advantage of hosting the world’s first T20 franchise competition, it’s surprising they haven’t won an ICC trophy in the format since its first World Cup in 2007, with MS Dhoni at the helm. .

The IPL and subsequent T20 World Events grew out of that famous Wanderers final when India prevailed over Pakistan in a final thriller. The teams played out a tie in the group stage, the outcome decided by the now defunct “bow out” (a much more entertaining and effective method of breaking a deadlock) with the unlikely triumvirate of Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa and Harbhajan Singh (OK, not so unlikely from “Bhaji”) getting a perfect record while Pakistan’s York geniuses Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi all missed.

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