COLOMBO – Pakistan and India will test their strengths against each other Monday (today) when the arch-rivals lock horns in warm-up game ahead of World T20 World cup. The game will be a traditional pressure cooker for both team despite being only a warm-up.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian team would, however, want their batsman to come good against a superior Pakistani bowling unit to maintain a clean slate ahead of their World Twenty20 opener against Afghanistan on September 19.
Though, India won comfortably against the hosts in their opening warm-up game, they certainly need to put up a better show with the bat against Pakistan, who boast of quality bowlers like Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul in their ranks.
Injury to opener Gautam Gambhir, who hurt his wrist against Sri Lanka, would be a concern for the Indians but Virender Sehwag along with other top-order batsmen need to redeem themselves against Pakistan following their dismal show with the bat in the first match.
India, in particular, would like Sehwag to fire against Pakistan and get some runs under his belt ahead of the tough battle ahead. Virat Kohli, on the other hand, has been a consistent performer, but the young Delhi lad would look to settle down and get battle ready with a solid knock against Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Yuvraj Singh, who made a comeback to world cricket after recovering from cancer with a cameo of 34 runs against New Zealand in the second T20 game in Chennai, also needs to get some more runs under his belt. And the match against Pakistan will provide the gutsy left-hander with an opportunity to prove that he is ready and looking forward to take on the world with the same zeal as he had left it a year ago following the critical illness.
Pakistan's batting line-up exhibits immaturity at this level, but with the likes of Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi and skipper M Hafeez in the ranks they really have the necessary fire power to upset any side. Young Nasir Jamshed has shown tremendous promise with the bat and the game against India would certainly test his temperament. On the bowling front, Pakistan has a much settled line-up with off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and speedster Umar Gul leading their respective departments. The experience of Razzaq and Afridi with the ball gives Hafiz plenty of options to dismantle any batting side. With both the teams having tasted success at the big stage -- India winning the inaugural World T20 in 2007 and Pakistan lifting the trophy two years later -- an exciting battle awaits cricket loving fans of both the countries.