India vs Pakistan, an encounter that many have been eagerly waiting for, is only eight days away when the two teams clash in the Asia Cup T20 2016 on Feb 27 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.
The last time the two sides played against each other was in the ICC World Cup 2015 in Adelaide, and India maintained their winning record against Pakistan in World Cups.
Now with the Asia Cup knocking at the door, this match will act as a perfect warmup for the ICC World T20 2016, where Pakistan will play India once again in the group stages of the tournament.
Asia Cup will be a T20 affair this year, and it will serve as a perfect platform for the sub-continental teams to gear up for the World T20 in India.
In T20 cricket, usually batsmen take the plaudits for their hard-hitting skills and bowlers are the ones who face the onslaught. But in these sub-continental wickets, bowlers will act as potent weapons for the teams. When it comes to India vs Pakistan, the bowlers from both sides are going to be pumped up, eager to make an impression.
India are going into this tournament as the No.1 team in the world in the shortest format of the game, after back-to-back T20 series wins against Australia and Sri Lanka, with the bowlers playing a major role.
R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra handled the Indian bowling lineup in both these series and they did it quite skillfully.
If India has a threatening bowling lineup, then Pakistan is not too far behind. They also have the likes of Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Amir, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Nawaz in their bowling ranks.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Shahid Afridi: If Ashwin can trouble batsmen on flat Australian wickets, just imagine how much damage he is capable of doing on the sub-continental wickets. We already got a glimpse of that during the T20 series against Sri Lanka, where Ashwin was turning the new ball square. Ashwin also picked up his career best T20 figures recently against Sri Lanka in the final T20 of the series.
Being the most experienced player as well as the captain of the team, Afridi will look to take the expectations on his shoulders, while his spell of four overs will be absolutely crucial in this format of the game. He recently bagged one of his best figures in T20 cricket in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Jasprit Bumrah vs Mohammad Amir: India's death-over issues have more or less been solved by Bumrah. His unorthodox action and accurate yorkers make him one of the most difficult bowlers to play. At the other end, ever since his comeback, Mohammad Amir has bowled well. He was decent in the series against New Zealand. Recently, the left-arm seamer claimed the first hat-trick of the PSL as well. His economy rate (7.32) is pretty impressive in this format of the game.
Ashish Nehra vs Wahab Riaz: Nehra has also bowled well recently. The left-arm pacer has this ability to swing the new ball both into and away from the batsmen. Although, he is a touch more expensive than other India bowlers in the lineup, his knack of picking up wickets early on in the innings make him one of the preferred choices for MS Dhoni.
Very few cricket fans will be able to forget Riaz's spell against Australia, in the quarterfinal of the ICC World Cup 2015. The way he troubled Shane Watson was simply delightful to watch. But he will not be welcomed with such kind of wickets in the sub-continent. In spite of that, Riaz will be the spearhead of the Pakistan bowling attack as he can swing the ball early as well as reverse it later in the innings.
Ravindra Jadeja vs Mohammad Nawaz: Jadeja is currently one of the best all-rounders in the world. He rushes through his overs quickly, which does not allow the batsmen to settle down. Jadeja does not turn the ball as much as Ashwin, but he can turn it enough to beat any batsman. His quicker ones are pretty venomous as it rushes through after it hits the deck. The southpaw has been in very good form recently and his presence in the squad is likely to be felt in almost all the departments.
In reply, Pakistan has Mohammad Nawaz, the slow left-arm bowler, who has done really well in the PSL and in the domestic circuit. Nawaz has picked up 10 wickets so far in he PSL for Quetta Gladiators, and he will play a crucial role for his side in the playoffs. He might be handed his debut for Pakistan against India in the Asia Cup on Feb. 27.