Colombo, Sep 29: India, demolished by Australia on Friday night, will have to be at their best when they lock horns with arch rivals Pakistan on Sunday night in Super Eights of the ICC World Twenty20 2012. India have not won a World T20 Super Eight game since 2007 and they have to break that losing streak to stay in Sri Lanka.
This is a must-win game for MS Dhoni-led side. If they have to keep their hopes alive of securing a semi-final spot, they have to defeat Pakistan by a big margin. And that is not enough, they have to triumph over South Africa too on October 2 to know their fate.
Indian bowlers were clueless against Australian opener Shane Watson and David Warner. Australia coasted to nine-wicket victory with 31 balls to spare.
This heavy defeat has worsened India's net run rate which is -2.506. To occupy one of the top two slots in Group 2, India have to win both their games and have to improve net run rate.
Going by the form of Piyush Chawla in the previous game, it is almost certain that he has played his last match for India in this tournament.
Virender Sehwag who was left out of Australia clash will return to bolster the batting. Irfan Pathan looked out of place as an opener in both games (England and Australia).
It is still not know whether Dhoni sticks to his strategy of playing five bowlers or go back to seven-four plan.
Dhoni said: "It is always good to be in a situation where you have to win every game. There is no scope for complacency and that is a good thing. You have to be at your best throughout. Hopefully we can go out and express ourselves without worrying too much about the result."
Pakistan are one win away from securing a semi-final spot. From a hopeless position against South Africa, they snatched victory. They will be in a confident mood for this high-voltage clash.
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez has said that the warm-up win against India before the start of World T20 had given them confidence.
"Everyone is looking forward to the India match. Since we have won against them in the warm-up game, it will give us confidence going into the match. That victory has been a real morale booster for us and the boys are upbeat and raring to go against India," said Hafeez.
Fast bowler Umar Gul said: "When we play India there is lot of pressure because our people always want us to win. The same is the case in India, so there will be pressure on both teams. Anything can happen. We will give it our best shot. India is a very good team, but we know each other's strong and weak points. In T20 it all depends on how a team plays on that day."
India and Pakistan have met twice before in World T20. In 2007, India won both clashes. In the league stage, the match ended in a tie and India won via a bowl-out. In the final, India defeated Pakistan by five runs to win the trophy.
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (Captain), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir.
Umpires: Rod Tucker (Australia) and Richard Kettleborough (England)
Third umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Fourth umpire: Ian Gould (England)
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand)
Match starts at 7.30 PM IST. Also playing on Sunday, at 3.30 PM IST, Australia Vs South Africa
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