Pakistan have never beaten India in a Twenty20.
The psychological advantage – despite the recent Test series humiliation – will be with India when the two sides kick-off their first bilateral series in almost five years at Bangalore tonight. Sachin Tendulkar does not play the shortest format but it will be his absence from the 50-over squad that will give Pakistan hope.
The outcome of either series is impossible to predict – as is the case with every match that involves these two sides. The last time these two teams met, India emerged convincing victors – an eight-wicket thrashing in the 2012 World Twenty20 after reducing Pakistan to 128. This time, however, Sohail Tanvir reckons the tourists have an edge due to their fast-bowlers.
“India’s current fast-bowlers are not experienced,” said Tanvir, who last played a Twenty20 against India in 2007. “Although they have played in the IPL, international cricket is different. Right now, India doesn’t have a fixed pace attack. They’re not sure who to play. It is an advantage for us that they are lacking in the fast bowling department.”
Personally, Tanvir is happy to be in India where he ended the 2008 IPL as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker.
“Fortunately, I have always done well in India. I bowled well the last time we toured here, and I had a lot of success in the IPL as well. The pitches in India and Pakistan are almost similar to each other and having played a lot of cricket here will definitely help.”
Pakistan will miss the service of left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, who was handed the responsibility of opening the bowling in the mega event earlier this year. But with captain Mohammad Hafeez also planning to break through India’s defences with pace, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez himself will prove to be more than handful with the ball.
“Indian batting is well known all over the world,” said Hafeez. “But winning or losing does not depend only on batting. Bowling will also have a major role. When we see our team, both batting and bowling is very good. So, our bowlers can negotiate the strong Indian batting line-up.”
India, meanwhile, will go into the series unchanged from the England matches despite worry over its bowling department, hoping for an improved show against Pakistan.
The second Twenty20 takes place in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2012.