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T20 World Cup 2024: Key match-ups to look forward to in India vs Pakistan Group A game

T20 World Cup 2024: Top rivalries to watch out in IND vs PAK group a game. India to play Pakistan on June 9 in New York.

Melbourne Madness_ That Haris Rauf over and those two Virat Kohli sixes on back-to-back balls in 19th over against Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2022 _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Twitter)
T20 World Cup 2024: Virat Kohli would be player to watch out (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)

The upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 will lend fans another chance to enjoy the rare India-Pakistan clash. Both teams, because of political reasons, only meet each other in the ICC tournaments.  

The inaugural champions of the tournament have a lead of 6-1 over Pakistan in T20 World Cup face-offs. This also includes a tied affair in the 2007-season, before India clinched the victory through a bowl-out. The only time the 2009 champions got the better of India was in the 2021 edition, with a 10-wicket win in Dubai. 

Let’s take a look at the key match-ups in the game 

Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam

Virat Kohli was the highest run-scorer of the last T20 World Cup in 2022, with 296 runs in six innings. He nailed those runs at an average of 98.66 and a strike rate of 136.40, including four fifties. His highest score of 82* helped India earn a victory from the jaws of defeat against Pakistan. 

Babar Azam, on the other hand, gathered only 124 runs in seven innings at a struggling average of only 17.71. His strike rate was down to 93.23, which is quite poor compared to the other top-order batters. He could celebrate only one fifty in the whole tournament. 

However, since the end of that tournament, the Pakistan captain has featured in 18 T20Is, collecting 664 runs. The right-handed batter has an average of 39.1 in this period, with a strike rate of 140.4, with six fifties and one century. 

Kohli, however, hasn’t played much 20-over games for India in that period. In just two T20Is against Afghanistan at the start of this year, the Delhi-born has 29 runs at a strike rate of 170.6.

When it comes to the T20s in that period, Babar has pocketed 1604 runs in 36 innings. His average of 50.1 is magnificent as he expressed himself at a strike of 136.4, with 13 fifties and three centuries. 

The former India captain, however, has scored 1380 T20 runs in 29 innings. His average of 57.5 is superb, along with a strike rate of 147.4. Besides, he also celebrated 11 fifties and three centuries. It will be interesting to see who wins the battle with the bat in their upcoming face-off. 

Comparing the pace spearheads: Shaheen Shah Afridi and Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah missed the last T20 World Cup with injury. On the flip side, Shaheen Shah Afridi had a superb run in the tournament. The left-arm pacer picked up 11 wickets at an impressive economy of 6.15 in seven innings. 

Weirdly enough, Bumrah too has featured in only two T20Is, since the end of that competition. The Gujarat-born picked up four wickets at an economy of 9.80. The former Pakistan captain, however, has been part of 19 T20Is in this duration, grabbing 34 wickets at an economy of 8.24. 

When it comes to T20s, Bumrah was in tremendous touch in the recently finished IPL 2024. He bagged 20 wickets in 13 innings at an outstanding economy of 6.48. In the case of the left-arm pacer, he has featured in 46 T20s to gather 67 wickets at an economy of 8.56. His struggle has been quite prominent at the death (overs 16-20), as he has leaked runs at an economy of 10. The battle between them promises to be a crucial one. 

Asia Cup 2023, India vs Pakistan_ Jasprit Bumrah vs Shaheen Shah Afridi comparative analysis in ODIs _Walking wicket (Images_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Bumrah vs Afridi would be an interesting battle (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav vs Pakistan pacers

Rohit Sharma has found it quite tough to score runs against left-arm pacers. He has faced Shaheen only once, scoring 4 T20I runs in six balls, while getting out once. 

The India captain hasn’t been comfortable in managing the pace of Haris Rauf as well. In 13 T20I balls, the Mumbai-born has scored only 12 runs, while getting dismissed twice. The battle of these two will be interesting for the upcoming T20 World Cup. 

Against Naseem Shah, Rohit has managed 13 unbeaten T20I runs in nine balls, with one six and one four. But, his record is impressive against another key India batter, Suryakumar Yadav (SKY). He has sent back SKY once, besides giving away four runs in seven balls. 

SKY has used the thunder pacer of Rauf, to drill him for 11 T20I runs in five balls. The Pakistan bowler, in return, has caged SKY once in their battle. Given these teams play each other quite rarely; the face-offs become more thrilling in the ICC tournaments. 

Will India spinners get past Mohammad Rizwan? 

Mohammad Rizwan has a really strong point against the spinners. In 64 T20I innings against the spinners (Left-arm Chinaman, left-arm orthodox, right-arm off-break, and right-arm leg-break), the wicketkeeper-batter has notched up 1119 T20I runs in 64 innings. His average of 58.9 has been superb, with a slightly low strike rate of 121.4. 

Although he is yet to face Kuldeep Yadav in this format, Rizwan has loved batting against Yuzvendra Chahal. The 31-year-old has belted the leg-spinner for 29 unbeaten T20I runs in 19 balls at a strike rate of 152.6. 

It will be interesting to see how the veteran reacts against Kuldeep. Rizwan has 60 runs at a strike rate of 136.4 against the left-arm chinaman bowlers, while getting dismissed only once. 

Shadab Khan can exploit Hardik Pandya’s weakness 

Hardik Pandya’s role against the spinners is vital from India’s perspective. The India all-rounder has managed only nine T20I runs in 11 balls against the leg-spinner. 

Moreover, Pandya has struggled against the right-arm leg spinners, with 122 runs at a strike rate of 100.8. He has also been dismissed four times in that face-off in the shortest format. 

India will lock horns with Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2024 on June 9. The game will take place at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. 

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