The Saturday evening clash between India and Pakistan will grab the eyeballs of millions of fans who gather to watch the World Twenty 20 match between the two arch-rival nations in Kolkata.
The cricket fanatics neighbours, who have fought three battles since the independence for Kashmir strip, share one of the world’s fiercest sporting rivalry and their rare showdown the pitch can bring both to a standstill.
India came into the World T20 as the favourite with 10 wins in 11 matches, but crashed to a shock 47 runs defeat to New Zealand in the Super 10 stage opener in Nagpur. Home advantage seemed to be a fallacy as Indian batsmen surrendered to the spinner on a sticky pitch and bowled out for 79 runs for only 79 in the group 2 game.
If India’s strength in batting failed it, Pakistan had just the opposite start with their unfancied batting line up firing away in Kolkata to carve out an impressive 55 run win against Bangladesh, aside it lost to at the recent Asia Cup. So, the battle between the two heavyweights remains unpredictable as ever.
Here’s what few of the players part of today’s battle and some former greats have to say.
Indian spinner Ravichandran has addressed the press conference yesterday and said, “India-Pakistan rivalry is bigger than Ashes.”
Former Indian opener wants to see India’s victory over the Pakistanis at the Eden Gardens. “I am expecting an India victory on Saturday.”
Former South African great Jonty Rhodes pressed the caution button as he said, “One the basis of one performance, don’t underestimate team India.”
Former Pakistan great Javed Miandad is sure his country will break the jinx. “Pakistan will give India tit for tat. World Cup is still open.”
For Gautam Gambhir, the hero of 2007 final World T20, said, “India-Pakistan is just another match.”
However, Basit Ali, former Pakistani batsman does not want rivalry out of the field, he thinks this match is important for rebuilding the relationship of two neighbours. “This match is creating good will two countries.”
And, meanwhile, Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch is following the India-Pakistan clash avidly to keep her promise. She tweets.
— Qandeel Baloch (@QandeelQuebee) March 19, 2016