Kolkata | Heavy showers in the Eden Gardens stadium here Saturday morning has shed a cloud of concern on Indian cricket fans as a washout of the crucial group match against Pakistan in the ICC World Twenty20 scheduled for later in the day will dim India’s chances of advancing to the next stage.
The rain stopped by noon. But more rain in the evening is forecast. The match is scheduled to start by 7.30 p.m.
The crushing defeat to New Zealand in Nagpur earlier this week has ensured that, with the only lifeline available already used up, India’s next fall will be a freefall with drastic consequences.
It’s Pakistan who finds itself far better placed against a team it has failed to conquer across ten showdowns in the 50-over World Cup and the World T20 combined.
India’s immediate task is to extend its hegemony over Pakistan in World Cups if it is to keep itself in the hunt for a last-four place.
“This is the first time that the pressure is more on India – not arising from victory or defeat at the hands of Pakistan but because they have lost the last game, they must be worried that they can go out – playing in your own country, such a huge tournament,” said Pakistan coach Waqar Younis.
The Eden strip – different from the ones used for the two previous games at this ground – will not play anywhere like the one in Nagpur did. It should be a pretty decent batting surface to start off with and is expected to slow down a little as the night wears on. Conventional wisdom would suggest bat-first, but there is potential for dew later on, which will then make gripping the ball whilst bowling second a difficult proposition.
Given the way the teams have started this tournament, and the fact that Pakistan has played here twice in the last five days, Afridi’s team will hold a marginal edge, particularly with the skipper too having worked his way back into runs and wickets. That’s a huge comedown for the pre-tournament favourite; India has little option but to extend its unbeaten World Cup streak against Pakistan to 11 if the rest of its Super 10 campaign is to hold more than mere academic interest.
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