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India vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup: Team form guide and players to watch out for

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 23-10-2021 hindustantimes.com

India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a high-voltage clash in their opening game of the 2021 T20 World Cup on October 24.

Virat Kohli (R) and Babar Azam. (AP) © Provided by Hindustan Times Virat Kohli (R) and Babar Azam. (AP) The Virat Kohli-led side will aim to keep its unbeaten streak against Pakistan intact in the tournament, which currently stands at five matches. Since a dramatic bowl-out victory in their first encounter in the 2007 T20 World Cup, India have beaten Pakistan in the final of the same edition, as well as in the 2012, 2014, and 2016 World Cups.

Ahead of the marquee encounter on Sunday, Team India seems a dominant side on paper, boasting more experience than the Babar Azam-led Pakistan team. However, current team and individual forms suggest that Pakistan are highly capable of defying the odds.

As the two sides meet in Dubai, let’s take a brief look at the form guide of both sides:

Team Form

India

India made their last T20I appearance during the three-match series against Sri Lanka, in which a majority of the first-team players didn't take part due to their commitments with the Test team in the United Kingdom. Moreover, the T20I series was further marred by a COVID-19 case in the Indian squad, forcing further absences.

After the Shikhar Dhawan-led side secured a 1-0 lead in the series, India were forced to make seven changes after eight players were deemed close contacts of COVID positive Krunal Pandya. The side eventually lost the series 2-1.

India's last five T20I outings:

OpponentResult
Sri LankaLost by 7 wickets
Sri LankaLost by 4 wickets
Sri LankaWon by 38 runs
England Won by 36 runs
EnglandWon by 8 runs

Before the Sri Lanka T20Is, India took on England in a five-match home series where the side registered a 3-2 victory.

Barring the international assignments, all the Indian players taking part in the T20 World Cup appeared in the recently-concluded 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.

Pakistan

Babar Azam's side faced West Indies in its last T20I assignment before the World Cup. In a rain-hit series that saw three games being abandoned, Pakistan's seven-run victory in the second match secured a 1-0 series win for the side.

Pakistan's last five T20I outings:

OpponentResult
West IndiesAbandoned
West IndiesAbandoned
West IndiesWon by 7 runs
West IndiesAbandoned
EnglandLost by 3 wickets

In 2021, Pakistan played in five T20I series, winning four (twice against South Africa - home and away, Zimbabwe and West Indies). In the away series against England, Pakistan won the first game before conceding losses in the remaining two.

Players to watch out

India

KL Rahul was among the top scorers in IPL 2021, being one of the only three batters to score 600+ runs in the season.

With an average of 62.60, he scored 626 runs in only 13 innings. Rahul carried his superb run in international colors as well, shining for the Indian team in the warm-up games against England (51 off 24 deliveries) and Australia (39 off 31 deliveries).  

Also watch: Salaam Cricket 2021: India can't win every World Cup but hope they do it in UAE, says Sourav Ganguly (Video by The Times of India)

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With the ball, Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur enjoyed a consistent run in IPL 2021. Bumrah ended as the third-highest wicket-taker (21 wickets in 14 matches) in the league, while Thakur took as many wickets in 16 games.

Varun Chakravarthy could also hold key to India's success in the T20 World Cup. The 30-year-old is riding on a good form (18 wickets in 17 IPL 2021 games) as he enters the tournament, and also remains relatively unknown due to limited international appearances, adding to the 'Mystery Spinner' narrative.

Pakistan

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have enjoyed a stellar 2021 so far. Pakistan's opening duo heads the T20 run-scoring chart for the year, with both Azam and Rizwan scoring at a 50+ average. 

Wicketkeeper-batter Rizwan has scored 752 runs in merely 14 T20I innings this year at a stellar average of 94. Moreover, he has scored a century and seven half-centuries while recording an impressive strike rate of 140.03. Pakistan captain Babar Azam isn't far behind either, having scored 523 runs in T20Is this year in 14 innings, slamming a hundred and five half-centuries.

Partners (2021 only)InningsRunsAverage10050
Babar Azam/Mohammad Rizwan1052152.121

The duo has opened in 10 innings this year so far, putting 521 runs with two 100+ partnerships.

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