The schedule for the upcoming T20 World Cup is out and all eyes will be on the fixture on October 24 when arch-rivals India and Pakistan collide. The two heavyweights of Asian cricket will take on each other in the opening match of Group 2 which also consists New Zealand, Afghanistan and a couple of other qualifying sides.
Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has suggested that India’s neighbours will be ‘under a lot of pressure’ when the two sides collide in Dubai. The head-to-head record is quite clearly in India’s favour and Gambhir has no doubts regarding who’s expected to win the contest.
“I am sure it will add a lot of pressure on Pakistan because India has got 5-0 on Pakistan (World Cups). We should not be talking about whether there will be pressure on India, there is going to be a lot of pressure on Pakistan because the expectations are going to be high in Pakistan as well.
“At the moment if you see, India is far superior to Pakistan. Yes, in a T20 format, anyone can beat anyone. We should not take any team for granted, teams like Afghanistan can create upsets. It’s the same with Pakistan. But there will be pressure on Pakistan,” Gambhir told Star Sports.
Gambhir was an important member of the Indian side that won the inaugural T20 World Cup held in South Africa in 2007. During that tournament, India took on Pakistan quite early in the competition and although the match was tied, India went on to win the bowl-outs. This also gave them confidence for the final where they once again met Pakistan. Team India led by MS Dhoni defeated their opponents in the final over in dramatic fashion to become the first T20 champions of the world.
“When we won the 2007 T20 World Cup, our first game was against Scotland which was washed out. Practically, our first game was against Pakistan. That’s exactly what I mentioned. It’s important to play Pakistan in the early stages of the competition. You don’t want to keep thinking about Pakistan. You can finish it off early and then concentrate on the rest of the tournament. It’s going to be the same for the fans and the rest of the country. In fact, I am really happy for both countries that they are going to play against each other early,” he added.
The two countries haven’t played bilateral cricket since 2013 and therefore their clashes in ICC tournaments have become an even bigger cause of anticipation. India last faced Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup in England and beat them by a handsome margin.