India play Pakistan in an ICC World T20 2016 Group 2 match in Kolkata they cannot afford to lose. Having gone down to New Zealand in their first match of the WT20, India must pick up a win against their biggest rivals in this Super 10 match at the Eden Gardens to get back on course for a spot in the semifinals.
While the way in which India lost to New Zealand would have been difficult to stomach, the beauty of a heavy loss, especially for a side of India's experience, is that it is easier to shrug it off. It is the close games which linger and become more difficult to move on from.
India would have already moved on from that heavy loss to New Zealand, with their focus solely on Pakistan, a team they beat recently in the Asia Cup and have never lost to in any form of World Cups.
That in itself should breed enough confidence going into this game, but then being confident and actually performing on the night are two completely different things, as that match in Nagpur clearly showed.
As important as the bowlers are, what makes or breaks a T20 game is the batting. India's batsmen went missing against the Kiwis in Nagpur Tuesday, but that, plain and simple, cannot happen against Pakistan.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, batting first or second – India should look to bat first on this slow Eden Gardens track, especially considering Pakistan are more confident defending a total – must give India a strong start, allowing the likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, in need of runs, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya to do their stuff.
Setting the tone is so crucial from a batting perspective, especially in a big game of the World T20. Had Shikhar Dhawan not played that daft sweep against the turn, who knows, India might not have suddenly collapsed like a house of cards. All conjecture, of course, but the importance and responsibility that the openers hold cannot be underestimated, and India need Rohit and Dhawan to get them off to a sound start.
India need only look at Pakistan's batting in the last game and see the difference momentum can make for you at the top of the order. Sharjeel Khan went at the Bangladesh bowling from ball one, and even if he got out, he created that momentum wave, which Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi rode quite well.
Pakistan, who have a really good record against India at the Eden Gardens, will look for more of the same from their batsmen, because if the men with the willow fire, Afridi's team become formidable opponents.
The bowling is never a problem for Pakistan; what can make the difference is the batting, and the onus will be on India's bowlers to ensure the Pakistan batsmen do not run away with the game.
Where to Watch Live
India vs Pakistan – the only match that matters – is set to begin at 7.30 p.m. IST (2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. ET, 7 p.m. PKT). Live buildup of the big match in India will begin on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD3 from 6 p.m. IST. Viewers from India, and a fair few other countries from around the world, can also watch India vs Pakistan via live streaming online on Hotstar and Starsports.com.
Audience in Pakistan will be able to watch this big match live on their TV screens on PTV, while the online live stream option is on PTV Live Streaming.
Sky Sports 2 is the place to be to watch India vs Pakistan in the UK, while the match can also be live streamed on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. US and Canada viewers (what a way to wake up) will be able to watch India vs Pakistan live on Willow TV, while the game can also be watched via live stream on Willow TV Online.
All the India and Pakistan fans in the Middle East will be able to watch the action live on OSN Sports Cricket, while viewers from the area and North Africa can also catch the match via live streaming online on OSN Play. SuperSport and SuperSport Live Video are the TV channels and websites to be to watch India vs Pakistan live in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.
Viewers in Singapore and Hong Kong can watch the match action live on Star Cricket. Astro Supersport will provide live coverage of the India vs Pakistan match in Malaysia.
It might be a little late in the night, but Fox Sports will show the ICC World T20 2016 match live in Australia, with Foxtel being the live stream option, while the similar options for viewers in New Zealand are on Sky Sport and Sky Go NZ.