Kolkata: There is a constant threat of rain-gods playing spoilsport in the much anticipated clash between arch rivals India and Pakistan in the ongoing ICC World T20 tournament. Rains continue to play hide-and-seek at the match venue, the Eden Gardens at Kolkata.
The weatherman had predicted heavy rains during the evening and rain it did. Heavy rains lashed Kolkata and the adjoining areas just hours ahead of the match. After a brief halt, a slight drizzle picked up again, raising anxieties among the Indian camp which faces a do-or-die situation.
Earlier in the day, the weather forecast agency Skymet, predicted that light to moderate rain and thundershowers were expected in Hooghly, Howrah and Kolkata. However, it was stated that the sun is supposed to shine through later in the day.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) said that all arrangements are in place to secure the pitch for an uninterrupted match which is scheduled to begin at 7: 30 pm.
In case, if the rain disrupts today’s game, India will be knocked out of the tournament. Today’s match is a do or die situation for Team India as it has already lost the opening match of the Group B against New Zealand.
At present India is at the 4th position with 0 points in Group B rating chart where as Pakistan is at the 2ns spot with 2 points. New Zealand is at the number 1 position with 4 points.
Today’s match was originally scheduled to be held in Dharamsala but was shifted after the Himachal Pradesh government expressed inability to provide security to the Pakistan team owing to protests by ex-servicemen and their families.
The hosts, who started as clear title-favourites, are under intense pressure, especially after the jolt suffered in Nagpur. Losing one more game and that against Pakistan will cause Team India huge embarrassment.
Pakistan, on the other hand, would look to break the jinx of never beating India in an ICC event and they would be buoyed by the comprehensive win over Bangladesh in the tournament-opener. However, dubbed the most unpredictable team in the world for a good reason, Pakistan will be under pressure every time they face India in an ICC world event.
Given the record, India do have the edge on paper and the team’s under-fire batsmen will look to redeem themselves after their capitulation against the Kiwis while chasing a modest 127 on a notorious Jamtha turner.
However, Pakistan also did a splendid job in brushing aside the off-field furore which was triggered by skipper Shahid Afridi’s comments that his players get more love here than back home.
With a legal notice on the skipper back home, it was the worse that could have happened to the 2009 champions who were already short on match practice and suffered early elimination in the recently-concluded Asia Cup. But Afridi led by example with a 19-ball 49 and followed it up with his 2/27 in their huge 55-run win over Bangladesh.
Pakistani batting also roared back to form with half- centuries from Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad who added 95 runs from 68 balls to lay the foundation before Afridi sizzled at the Eden Gardens. Their campaign on track, it remains to be seen whether they would be able to overcome the mental block of beating India in a world tournament.