GeneralPakistan vs. India – Players To Watch

Pakistan vs. India – Players To Watch

An India-Pakistan clash, particularly in an ICC tournament, is always a great spectacle, capable of making or breaking careers. It’s once again that time of the cricket calendar as the rivals face off in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup. Players on both sides will be eager to impress and become heroes for their respective nations like young Shaheen Shah Afridi did in 2021 and veteran Virat Kohli did in 2022.


Babar Azam

Pakistan’s captain has been in focus, once again, in the lead-up to the game. He has been in fine form in T20 cricket this year, averaging almost 40 at a strike rate of 140+ in T20Is this year. However, he mustered up just 44 off 43 balls in the opening game against the USA and was once on just 9 off 23 balls after a top-order collapse. On what is likely to be a tricky New York surface, strike rate may not be the biggest concern, but Pakistan will hope for their skipper to stand up and demonstrate his technical prowess against a strong Indian bowling side. Should Kuldeep Yadav play, that battle will be one to watch.

Fakhar Zaman

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Fakhar Zaman didn’t get a chance to bat against India in the 2021 T20 World Cup after Pakistan won by 10 wickets. Then, he missed out on the 2022 T20 World Cup encounter after being ruled out due to injury. Now, though, he is fit and settled as Pakistan’s number 4, a luxury afforded to few in recent times. He has been in top form in T20Is this year, averaging 33 at a strike rate of almost 160. He has hit 27 sixes this year – only Finn Allen, with 30, has cleared the boundary more often among the Full Members. Pakistan will be reliant on the southpaw, particularly to negate India’s spinners in the middle.

Naseem Shah

Naseem Shah is unquestionably one of Pakistan’s biggest cricketing stars. However, he doesn’t quite yet have a standout match-winning performance on the big stage akin to Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 2021 display against India. He will be looking to change that. Coming back from injury, he had an impressive PSL this season but has not been at his best since in T20Is, although he showed signs of getting there against the USA. Being relegated to a change bowler in favor of Mohammad Amir may fire him up further, not that an India-Pakistan game requires extra motivation. On a tricky New York pitch, he could be a handful for India’s top order.


Suryakumar Yadav

Hard-hitting Suryakumar Yadav has been one of the standout batters in T20 cricket over an extended period and is comfortably placed as the number one-ranked men’s T20I batter. He hasn’t had the best of times against Pakistan, though, having faced them 4 times in the T20 World Cup and Asia Cup and being dismissed between 11 and 18 each time. A batter of his caliber will be eager to rise to the occasion against the arch-rivals and make an impact in New York. Even a short but high-impact innings could be very crucial in what may end up being a low-scoring game due to the pitch and ground conditions.

Hardik Pandya

All-rounder Hardik Pandya has frequently been a thorn in Pakistan’s side in ICC events, particularly in ODI cricket. When the two teams met last year in their first Asia Cup encounter, he rescued India from a precarious position as they got a decent score. He then dismissed Babar Azam in the second Asia Cup game and Imam-ul-Haq in the World Cup match. While he has struggled with his batting of late in T20 cricket, particularly the tempo, he made 40* off 23 in India’s warm-up against Bangladesh. On a tricky pitch, his ability to recover the innings as well as bowl seam-up will be a vital factor for India that could make or break the game.

Mohammed Siraj

Pacer Mohammed Siraj is yet to play a T20I against Pakistan, although he did face Team Green in the 50-over Asia Cup and World Cup last year. In the latter, he dismissed Abdullah Shafique in the powerplay then triggered a collapse with the crucial wicket of Babar Azam. More than capable of taking advantage of any help on offer, the right-arm pacer will be a handful for Pakistan to handle if the pitches continue to offer variable bounce and seam movement. He has a habit of bowling remarkable spells where he runs through teams, as he did in the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, and a struggling Pakistan batting lineup could be vulnerable.

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