Preview: India v/s Pakistan

2014 ICC World T20
Mirpur will host the first main draw (Super 10) match of the 2014 World T20 tournament between traditional rivals India and Pakistan. 
For India, memories of a last gasp ODI loss are still hurting from the Asia Cup, whereas Pakistan once again enter a T20 tournament as favorites. Pakistan have been two-time finalists and two-time semi-finalists. They have never failed to get through their groups, and are the only team to reach the knockouts on all 4 occasions. 
This will be an entertaining beginning to proceedings in this group- which has teams like Australia, West Indies and one of the qualifiers. 
They lost their warmup game to perennial bridesmaids Sri Lanka, but this was more of a guinea pig game for Dhoni and co. The captain himself didn’t bat, preferring to analyze the depth in his brittle batting lineup, after managing to restrict the Lankans to less than 160 on a tough pitch. India went on to lose by 5 runs, but the result was irrelevant, because Dhoni learnt that experienced hands at T20 are still the ones to rely on. Yuvraj and Raina ended up as top scorers, both in comeback mode, whereas regulars like Dhawan, Rohit and Rahane failed. Slow pitches are never going to suit these stroke makers, and Dhoni will realize that his top order and bowling line up are once again issues ahead of a major tournament. At the same time, he will want to be the first captain to hold all the 3 limited overs trophies simultaneously by somehow defying expectations and reaching the semifinal for the first time since their World Cup victory in 2007. India have failed to go past their groups on 3 of 4 occasions, and are slow starters. They will need a miracle to lift them out of this group of Death, with all the other 3 teams capable of annihilating them. 
Weaknesses: Bowling, Openers. 
X-factor: Amit Mishra. He will want to settle the debate once and for all. He is India’s best limited overs spinner, and will want to weave the same web around Pakistan as he did in the Asia Cup. 
Comeback kid Kamran Akmal looked in top form against New Zealand in their warmup game, as did Hafeez. These are inconsistent batsmen that can, on any given day, snatch the game away from the opposition. To have one of the Akmals behind the stumps is not an attractive proposition for this team, but they will have to tolerate occasional errors. Still, India’s greatest threat will be all-rounder Afridi, who emulated a Miandad to inflict a painful defeat on them a few weeks ago on similar pitches. Pakistan will want to bowl first though, with the Indians often looking a bit clueless when they have to set targets. With players like Umar Akmal, Ajmal, Junaid and Gul, and sans ‘calming factor’ Misbah or Younis, the team is brimming with young electric talent. It isn’t a good sign when your most experienced player is Shahid Afridi though—he doesn’t believe in setting an example for the youngsters with bat in hand. 
Weaknesses: Wicketkeeping, fielding. 
X-factor: Sohail Tanvir. 
This is Pakistan’s game to lose. 

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