MS Dhoni India
MS Dhoni in action against England during the World T20 2014 warm-up game, 19 March. Reuters

India vs Pakistan, at a World Cup, swords wielded, shields out, the first of many marches towards that title. The hype has been minimum, the build-up nearly non-existent, as all eyes remained glued to the Associate sides, and Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, as they slugged it out to make it to the Super 10 phase of the tournament.

[Read the report HERE]

The warm-up games, where both of India's matches were televised, has further made this particular India vs Pakistan encounter fall a little lower on the Richter Scale.

But still, it is India vs Pakistan, and regardless of the hype, or the lack of it, it still is one of the biggest, if not the biggest - Australia and England will have a say for sure - match in world cricket.

Add the fact that it is the opening game of the main draw of the World T20 2014, the man-I-can't-wait-for-this feeling just gets a little higher - maybe not a week ago, maybe not even 24 hours ago, but with a few hours remaining, that excitement will only keep building.

"The intensity is there of course. It is something that you cannot really take away from the game irrespective of which opposition you are playing," India skipper Dhoni said. "India vs Pakistan matches always capture the imagination of people from either side.

"I feel it has mellowed down to some extent, whatever the reason maybe, you do not see many altercations on the field. But still you see very competitive cricket which I feel is very important."

This will not be a match between two supreme nations at the height of their powers, though. The chinks are more visible at the moment than the strengths, and at the end of the day, it will be all about which team hold their nerve - like Shahid Afridi did so well in the 50-over game not so long ago.

Also, India have that mental advantage, having never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup, be that the 50-over format or the slam-bang World T20.

MS Dhoni's men sensationally lifted the first ever World T20 by beating their biggest rivals in the final in 2007; but then Pakistan have since gone on to win the trophy once themselves, while India still wait for another glorious moment in the 20-over game.

"A lot of people talk about it but what is important is what kind of cricket you are playing on that particular day," Dhoni added when asked about India's unbeaten record against Pakistan in World Cups. "All the teams that are participating, they have got a fantastic side.

"What this format does is, the difference between the best sides and the not-so-good sides is very narrow. Even the team who make it to this stage, you see they have also got the talent to upset some of the big sides, which means we have to play good cricket and that is what it is all about. It is not really about the stats or what you have achieved in the past."

The familiar noises of trouble within the squad has reared up yet again from the Pakistan camp, with reports suggesting Hafeez and the team management, led by former wicketkeeper/batsman Moin Khan - someone quite familiar with India-Pakistan matches - do not see eye to eye.

It could all be bunkum of course, and there is no better team in world cricket that overcome adversity better than Pakistan, such is the talent that exists - and in a T20 game, all it takes is one outstanding individual performance to take the team home.

Shahid Afridi Pakistan
The mercurial Shahid Afridi will be the cynosure of all eyes during the India vs Pakistan game. Reuters

"Yes, an India-Pakistan game is always important but this is not the whole tournament and we want to give a good show in the whole tournament," Hafeez said. "The first game is always important as you want to do well in that game so that you can get the momentum right. We are looking forward to this and hopefully the boys will do well to get the best results for Pakistan."

Neither team will be out of the tournament if they lose this huge game on Friday; but starting with a win against your biggest rivals might just be the tonic needed to take you all the way to the title, and as a result, the stakes remain as high as ever.

Team news: India: First match of the tournament, and the biggest to go with it, Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher are unlikely to experiment too much with the first XI. So, expect the usual suspects, with Amit Mishra, despite his recent impressive performances and the heavy dew, likely to sit the game out, as will, most probably Stuart Binny, with Ajinkya Rahane expected to be preferred as the extra batsman.

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik is always a man for the India vs Pakistan occasion and could be included while Kamran Akmal, who showed good form in the warm-up matches, is likely to be given a chance at the top, at the expense of either Ahmad Shahzad or Sharjeel Khan.

Key men: India: Dhoni's return to the lineup is a huge boost for India. The Men in Blue missed their captain quite a bit at the Asia Cup, and the calm head as well as the ridiculous finishing powers will be greatly welcomed.

Pakistan: Cannot look beyond Afridi, who has found his bating mojo yet again. If the right-handed tyro unleashes his power against India one more time, then Dhoni and co. could be in for a long evening. The only slight issue will be Afridi's fitness, with the swashbuckling all-rounder still not quite at 100 percent after suffering a hip strain during the Asia Cup.

"He is in good form and we have seen that in the Asia Cup," Hafeez said of Afridi. "It is a good sign for us because we always wanted him to bat lower down the order and finish the game well for Pakistan, and it is always great to know that he is in form, and in a good frame of mind.

"It is always great when your senior players are looking forward to challenges. The way the momentum has shifted, it is a boost for our morale. I hope he repeats his heroics and pleases Pakistani fans again."

Expected lineups: India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (capt), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.

Pakistan: Kamran Akmal, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammed Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Bilawal Bhatti, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal.

Where to Watch Live:

World T20 2014: India vs Pakistan Super 10 Match Live TV and Streaming Information (Match starts 7.30 pm local time, 7 pm IST, 1.30 pm GMT, 9.30 am ET)

Country TV Broadcaster
India Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD1, Doordarshan
US and Latin America ESPN
Canada Sportsnet
UK and Ireland Sky Sports
Middle East and North Africa OSN Sport Cricket
Australia Fox Sports
Sub Saharan Africa & South Africa SuperSport
New Zealand Sky Sport
Europe EuroSport
Pakistan PTV and Ten Sports
Sri Lanka CSN
Bangladesh Bangladesh TV, Maasranga TV and Gazi TV
Country Online links
India HERE
Middle East HERE
Canada HERE or HERE
Australia HERE
South Africa & Sub Saharan Africa HERE
Latin America HERE
New Zealand HERE
Europe HERE
Pakistan HERE or HERE
Sri Lanka HERE