Eden Gardens, Kolkata, is set to host Saturday the mega ICC World T20 2016 contest between India and Pakistan, which is expected to be cracker of a match. India, after having suffered a humiliating defeat to New Zealand, need to defeat Pakistan in order to have a chance to reach the semifinals of the World T20.
Pakistan, on the other hand, come into the match after a massive win against Bangladesh, where all their players delivered. Another all-round display by Pakistan players could be catastrophic for India.
Despite their contrasting performances, India will go into this match as favourites. India have never lost to Pakistan in World Cup events.
With both teams possessing some quality players, let's look at those cricketers who could make a difference at Eden Gardens.
The right-hander always seems to find another gear when he plays at the Eden Gardens. It is one of his favourite venues, and he has played some brilliant innings at the iconic stadium, including the majestic 264 runs against Sri Lanka in the ODI format. The Mumbai lad even scored a dazzling 98 runs in the warm-up game against South Africa at Eden Gardens, and will be keen on a similar performance against Pakistan. After his failure in the first match, Rohit should be more than determined to perform with the willow at the Eden Gardens.
MS Dhoni, as has been the case in most T20 matches, is expected to throw the new ball to Ashwin, who is India's best bowler in such Indian conditions, where the ball is likely to turn. Ashwin will be expected to make early inroads for India and dismiss the Pakistan batsmen for cheap runs. Not only will he be asked to take wickets, but also stop batsmen from scoring runs freely. Ashwin will not make it easy for Pakistan to score runs. With his variety and a spin-friendly pitch to assist him, Ashwin could provide to be the difference between the two sides.
The left-arm pacer troubled India with his swing (with perfect accuracy) when they met in the Asia Cup. Amir, with the new ball, is one of the best bowlers in world cricket. He not only gets the ball to swing, but has the much-required pace to trouble India batsmen. Amir is a fiery customer, and if he gets his line and length right, India batsmen will have a tough time dealing with him. However, an interesting battle is on the cards, with India's batting said to be the best in the world.
The experienced Pakistan campaigner shone against Bangladesh in their last win. He was a huge success with the bat and ball, and also led the team from the front, making some good bowling changes. Afridi needs to bring all his experience into play at the Eden Gardens, where he is loved as a cricketer. When on song, like against Bangladesh, he can be a ferocious hitter of the cricket ball, and also take some important wickets when required.