The maiden Twenty20 International at Sardar Patel Gujarat stadium, Motera, on Friday has all the ingredients to be a pot-boiler. Firstly it is between the arch-rivals — India and Pakistan. Secondly the home team is trailing in the two-match series and raring to square it. Moreover, the result is likely to decide future of Indian team as critics are gunning for captain MS Dhoni’s head and have questioned his leadership skills.
As expected the India-Pakistan encounter is a sellout. Down 0-1, Team India desperately needs win to square the series and save the blushes. Else, it will be a second series loss in as many months for the home team. India had suffered 1-2 loss in the just-concluded Test series against England which was the first time in 28 years at home.
The home team, as usual, will look up to its batsmen, especially Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh to own responsibility and deliver. A lot will also depend on in-form Ajinkya Rahane and aggressive Virat Kohli who have shown a lot of
With temperature falling and the evenings being breezy, bowlers like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar shall find the conditions favourable. The match starts at 5 pm to ensure the dew factor remains at bay. Team India does have good memories of this ground. Last month they beat England, the only Test MS Dhoni & Co managed to win in the four-match series.
If India bank on batsmen, Pakistan will look up to their bowlers, especially pace battery comprising experienced Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir along with lanky seamer Mohammad Irfan, who troubled the starry batting line-up in Bangalore.
“Bowling is our strength. All bowlers — Afridi, Gul, Ajmal and now Irfan — have proved that they are match winners. We have enough experience in our bowling attack and no matter how good the opposition play, we can still bowl them out,” said Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan captain.
Traditionally Motera has been a batsman-friendly wicket and it is no different this time. It won’t be a surprise if the game turns out to be a high-scoring thriller. Last time the two teams met here was in 2006 ODI series. The game went down to the wire with visiting team captain Inzamam-ul-Haq steering Pakistan to victory in the last over.