Well, here it is, the mother of all clashes: India take on Pakistan in the T20 World Cup here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). As you might have heard by now, there is a high chance of rain playing a spoilsport. But if it doesn’t, then we will have a cracker-jacker of a contest at our disposal.
Yes, India have a better record against Pakistan, winning five out of the six games thus far. But you know what is more important, Pakistan won the last contest, in Dubai, which really brings us here. Pakistan have an edge over India, winning two out of the last three contests between the two sides.
But can India claw things back?
MCG is exactly split, there is no real advantage for teams batting first or chasing a total. It is right in the middle, 50%, with nine results going either way. It isn’t a very good batting surface, at least over the last two years (since 2021), with the average score being 168 in the first innings.
Like all Australian surfaces, pacers have picked up 120 wickets, accounting to 62.8% of the wickets at the venue. On the other hand, spinners don’t have a great record, averaging 31.6, with a strike-rate of 25.5, picking up 71 wickets.
Right-arm pacers have shown considerable strength here at the venue, with 119 wickets, striking at 17.7. In short, it really shows the importance of pacers. With both teams having a plethora of pace-bowling options, expect them to go pace-heavy.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
For Small leagues: Virat Kohli (c), Mohammad Rizwan (vc)
For Grand leagues: Haris Rauf (c), Hardik Pandya (vc)
Stats that matter
- MCG is the only venue out of all venues in the Super 12, where there is a 50-50 chance for teams batting or chasing. All other venues in the country are tilted towards teams that bat first, breaking the win-toss, chase record from the Middle East.
- Two of the leading run-scorers in the shortest format this year are playing this encounter – Mohammad Rizwan and Suryakumar Yadav. Rizwan has scored 821 runs this year, averaging 54.73 while Suryakumar has scored 801 runs with a strike-rate of 184.6, with six half-centuries.
- Yet again, there are two names in the top two list for leading wicket-takers this year – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Haris Rauf. India’s Bhuvneshwar has picked up 35 wickets, averaging 18.2 with a strike-rate of 15.1, while Rauf has picked up 28 wickets, with a strike-rate of 16.5.
- An average of 76.8, 10 50+ scores. Guess who? Virat Kohli. Kohli has scored 845 runs. In Australia, the right-hander has scored 451 runs, with a strike-rate of 144.5, with five 50+ scores. Against Pakistan, Kohli has scored 406 runs, with four 50+ score.
Grand League Punts
- It is almost tough to go wrong with Haris Rauf, ask Lahore Qalandars, Melbourne Stars and now, Pakistan. He has been a pillar of strength for all the three setups since he made his debut in T20s. In this year, the right-arm speedster has picked up 28 wickets, averaging 21.6, with a strike-rate of 16.5. At the MCG, Rauf has picked up 11 wickets.
- Hardik Pandya has been a revelation for India since his return to the setup, with 12 wickets while scoring 436 runs for India, averaging 36.33 with a strike-rate of 151.38. He could be India’s key against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Top Criclytics predictions
India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Harshal Patel/Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal/Ravichandran Ashwin
Pakistan XI: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shan Masood/Fakhar Zaman, Shabab Khan, Asif Ali, Ifthikar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi