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T20 World Cup: Pakistan scripts history; thrash India by 10 wickets

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan side scripted history on Sunday as the Green Brigade broke their World Cup jinx against arch-rivals India after thrashing the Virat Kohli-led side by 10 wickets in the third match of the ongoing T20 World Cup in Dubai.

Chasing a modest total of 152 runs for victory, Babar (68 not out off 52) and Mohammad Rizwan (79 unbeaten off 55) played brilliantly as the opening duo denied the Indian bowlers any success and helped their side cross the line with 13 balls to spare.

Notably, it is for the first time when Pakistan defeated India in a World Cup match, having lost their all encounters in the past.

The Pakistan opener posted the highest ever partnership for any wicket by any team against India in T20Is and also surpassed the previous best, which was 133 by David Warner and Shane Watson.

Rizwan and Babar also created another record of Pakistan’s best-ever partnership for any wicket against India in T20Is as they surpassed the nine-year-old record created by Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik when they scored 106 runs for the fourth wicket in 2012 at Bangalore.

For India, pacer Mohammed Shami was the most expensive bowler, leaking 43 runs from 3.5 overs.

Pakistan’s Rizwan, meanwhile, also completed 1,500 T20 runs in the ongoing calendar year. He’s only the 2nd Pakistani after Babar Azam to score 1,500 runs in a calendar year.

Earlier put into bat, skipper Kohli (57 off 49 balls) and stumper Rishabh Pant (39 off 30 balls) steadied the ship for India as they duo forged a crucial 53-run partnership for the fourth wicket after the Men in Blue lost three early wickets.

It was the duo’s effort in the middle which somehow helped India to reach 151/7 in the allotted 20 overs.

Put into bat, India was reduced to 36/3 in the power-play as Shaheen Shah Afridi (3/31) jolted the kohli-led side after packing back both the openers – KL Rahul (3) and Rohit Sharma cheaply. Rohit couldn’t even manage to open his account as he was trapped before the wickets by Afridi in the very first over of the match itself.

Later, incoming batter Suryakumar Yadav (11 off 8) hit a maximum off Afridi and swept spinner Imad Wasim for a boundary but his stay at the crease was cut short by Pakistan wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan, who dived to his right to catch a thick edge off Hasan Ali delivery in the final over of the power-play.

Follwoing his dismissal, Kohli was joined by Pant in the middle and the duo led the charge for rebuilding the Indian innings.

While Pant was more aggressive, Kohli kept on rotating the strike.

Just when the duo looked settled in the middle, Pant top-edged a slog delivery of the 13th over by Shadab Khan, who caught the Indian stumper off his own bowling.

After Pant’s dismissal, Kohli took the charge as he slammed four boundaries off Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali en route to his half-century while Ravindra Jadega chipped in with 13 runs off as many deliveries as the men in Blue somehow posted a respectable total on the score board.

For Pakistan, Afridi was the wrecker-in-chief as he returned with impressive figures of 3/31 while Hasan Ali bagged couple of wickets conceding 44 runs. On the other hand, Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf picked one wicket each handing 22 and 25 runs respectively.

Pakistan will next face New Zeland in Sharjah on Tuesday while India will face the Kiwis in their next encounter on October 31.

Brief scores: Pakistan 152/0 (Mohammad Rizwan 79 not out, Babar Azam 68 not out) in 17.5 overs BEAT India 151/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 57, Rishabh Pant 39, Shaheen Afridi 3/31, Hasan Ali 2/44) by 10 wickets

T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka’s mystery spinner Theekshana to miss campaign opener against Bangladesh

Sri Lanka off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana will miss his side’s opening match of the ongoing T20 World Cup against Bangladesh in ‘Super 12’ Group 1 of the showpiece event in Sharjah on Sunday (October 24) due to a back strain.

The back strain injury happened during Sri Lanka’s qualifying Group A match against the Netherlands and had some discomfort while bowling on Friday.

The 21-year-old youngster was his team’s most impressive bowler during Round 1 of the T20 World Cup as he had picked eight wickets from just three matches. He also played a crucial role in Sri Lanka’s much-needed win over the Netherlands, in the islanders last Qualifier game.

Theekshana picked up two top-order wickets of Netherlands and helped his side bundle out their opponents at a paltry 44.

Sri Lanka batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa confirmed the development that the spinner has a side strain and the team management won’t risk him playing against Bangladesh in their openeing game of the Super 12 stage on Sunday.

“The physios have said the decision might be probably to leave him for the next game,” Bhanuka Rajapaksa was quoted as saying by Cricket.com.

“We don’t want to risk it by playing him and then him not playing in the rest of the series. For the moment he will be missing the next game as far as I know. It’s not 100 percent decided yet, but most probably, he will miss the first game and then play the rest of the games,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka also announced on Saturday that Theekshana will be missing Sunday’s match against Bangladesh however, he also said that the condition of the youngster was “OK”.

He further said that Theekshana, who had already scalped eight wickets in the first three qualifying games, will be playing in the games post the Bangladesh contest.

In their game against Netherlands, the Sri Lanka pacers — Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, and Chamika Karunaratne — also bowled decently along with Theekshana. Rajapaksa meanwhile, said that the spinners complemented the pacers well.

“I think it’s such a benefit having two bowlers who are bowling above 90mph. Any batsman, they get shook because bowling at 145 [kph] plus and not having any room, just bowling in good areas, it’s always difficult as a batsman to get over,” he opined.

Significantly, Theekshana is the second-highest wicket-taker in the ongoing T20 World Cup after Bangladesh’s star all-rounder Shakib Al Hassan.

Theekshana, who has been termed as the new Ajantha Mendis, has scalped eight wickets so far. While he picked three wickets each against Namibia and Ireland, he later returned with impressive figures of 2/3 against the Netherlands in the final qualifying game on Friday.

After winning all their three games against Namibia, Ireland and Netherlands, Sri Lanka secured a comfortable place in the Super 12 of Group 1.

The islanders are now placed in the group along with Australia, South Africa, two-time T20 World Cup champions West Indies, Bangladesh and England.

After Bangladesh, Sri Lanka will be up against Australia on October 28 in Dubai before facing South Africa and England in Sharjah on October 20 and November 1 respectively. The islanders will take on the Windies in their last group game in Abu Dhabi on November 4.

T20 World Cup: Pakistan announces 12-man squad for clash against India

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan side on Saturday announced their 12-man squad for their opening clash of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Dubai on Sunday.

The Pakistan team management has decided to include senior and experienced cricketers in their playing XI for the much-awaited blockbuster clash against arch-rivals India.

Babar Azam-led squad will aim to break their World Cup jinx against the Men in Blue in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as India have beaten the Green Brigade in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups so far.

Recently, when asked about his team’s dismal 0-5 record against India in T20 World Cup matches, Babar had said that his side has played a lot of cricket in the UAE and knows the conditions well.

“Definitely we have played a lot of cricket in the UAE. These conditions suit us and we know how to play here. We need to keep things simple in all the departments,” he had said.

After opening their campaign against the Virat Kohli-led Team India, Pakistan will next face New Zealand at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah October 26.

The Green Brigade will next take on Afghanistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai October 29 before facing the two qualifers on November 2 and 7 in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah respectively.

The two semifinals will be held on November 10 and November 11 with the final to be played on November 14 in Dubai.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Men in Green had suffered a defeat against South Africa by six wickets in a thrilling warm-up match at the Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi.

However, in their first warm-up match at the ICC Academy Cricket ground in Dubai on October 18, Pakistan had thrashed West Indies by seven-wicket.

Although the cricket world is waiting for the most-awaited blockbluster clash between the two neighbouring nations, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar had said that his country’s “real anger” was directed towards New Zealand and not Team India as the Kiwis had recently abandoned their tour to his which was followed by England.

“Our real anger is with New Zealand. We will take it out on them, we have no issues with you (India),” Akhtar said while talking during India Today’s show Salaam Cricket 2021.

Significantly on September 17, the Kiwi cricket team had abandoned their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.

The development took place a few minutes before the first ODI match between Pakistan and New Zealand.

Following New Zealand’s last-minute decision to cancel their limited-overs tour had not gone well with Akhtar, who had slammed the touring Kiwi team and its cricket board, saying “NZ just killed Pakistan cricket”.

“Sad scenes & news from Rawalpindi. Following points for New Zealand to remember: 9 Pakistanis were killed in the Christchurch attack. Pakistan stood strong with New Zealand. Pakistan toured New Zealand in the worst of Covid circumstances regardless of the crude treatment by NZ authorities on that tour,” Akhtar had expressed.

“This was just an unverified threat, it could have been discussed. Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to his NZ counterpart and assured but it was still refused. Pakistan has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe & PSL,” he had added.

Later, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had also cancelled their men’s and women’s short tour of Pakistan, which was severely criticised by many former cricketers.

BCCI appoints VPS Healthcare to manage bio bubbles during T20 World Cup

The UAE-based VPS Healthcare, which had successfully managed the bio-bubble during the just concluded 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) have reappointed the multinational healthcare group for providing medical services in the ongoing edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Notably, it will be the third time when the VPS Healthcare has been entrusted with the responsibility of handling the medical side of a huge cricket tournament.

With a strength of over 2000 people, which will include as many as 16 teams within the bio-secure environment this time, it is going to be the biggest bio-bubble ever managed during any international cricket tournament held in the past couple of years.

The healthcare group will not only look after the players and support staffs but also their families, broadcast crew, BCCI and ICC officials, staff at the hotel and stadium.

Meanwhile, as per reports, the healthcare group has implemented some stringent protocols to avoid any breach of the bio-secure environment during the showpiece event.

Reports said that for the T20 World Cup, the medical group has created a total of twelve bio-bubbles across nine hotels. While seven bio-bubbles are in Dubai, the remaining five have been set up in Abu Dhabi.

Moreover, the healthcare group will also use Rapid RT-PCR tests in case of any emergency as it would give the test results within a short duration of just 20-30 minutes.

“In contrast to the earlier times, all members within the bio-bubble are vaccinated. Despite that, all will undergo regular RT-PCR tests to uphold the safety measures. The testing protocol for the members in the bio-bubble has been set by the ICC,” stated a release.

Throughout the showpiece event, the medical group is expected to conduct more than 20,000 PCR tests. VPS is said to be able in conducting over 2,000 PCR tests per day, with a turnaround time of 6 hours for the results.

VPS will not only secure the bio-bubble but will also provide holistic medical support for the T20 World Cup.

Experienced in offering 360-degree healthcare services for sporting events, it will provide a broad range of services, including emergency medical services, sports medicine support, musculoskeletal imaging, specialist teleconsultation, doctor-on-call, and ambulance/air ambulance support.

VPS Healthcare will also be managing the medical services at the stadiums and during practice sessions of the teams and meanwhile, the company has also put doctors at the hotels of the players, support staffs, broadcast crews and other officials to cater to their need in case of any emergency.

Also as the ICC has allowed 70 percent spectators allowed at the venues, the mediacl group has also set up spectator clinics in the various stadiums to look after any emergency case.

Meanwhile, special arrangements have been put in place across VPS’ Burjeel hospitals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah for the immediate treatment of players or other stakeholders.

The release also stated that anybody requiring the air ambulance facility will be taken to Burjeel’Medical City, VPS’ quaternary care facility at Mohammed Bin Zayed City in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan’s ‘real anger’ with New Zealand, not India: Shoaib Akhtar

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has said that his country’s “real anger” was directed towards New Zealand and not Team India as the Kiwis had recently abandoned their tour to his which was followed by England.

“Our real anger is with New Zealand. We will take it out on them, we have no issues with you (India),” Akhtar said while talking during India Today’s show Salaam Cricket 2021.

Significantly on September 17, the Kiwi cricket team had abandoned their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.

The development took place a few minutes before the first ODI match between Pakistan and New Zealand.

Following New Zealand’s last-minute decision to cancel their limited-overs tour had not gone well with Akhtar, who had slammed the touring Kiwi team and its cricket board, saying “NZ just killed Pakistan cricket”.

“Sad scenes & news from Rawalpindi. Following points for New Zealand to remember: 9 Pakistanis were killed in the Christchurch attack. Pakistan stood strong with New Zealand. Pakistan toured New Zealand in the worst of Covid circumstances regardless of the crude treatment by NZ authorities on that tour,” Akhtar had expressed.

“This was just an unverified threat, it could have been discussed. Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to his NZ counterpart and assured but it was still refused. Pakistan has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe & PSL,” he had added.

Later, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had also cancelled their men’s and women’s short tour of Pakistan, which was severely criticised by many former cricketers.

Akhtar also reckoned that the Virat Kohli-led side would be under more pressure as compared to the Green Brigade as the Babar Azam-led side have nothing to lose.

“There is a lot of pressure but it’s less on Pakistan because, first of all, the entire stadium is blue. That is yours. Your fans will be there, your broadcasters, we have no problems if we lose this,” Akhtar said.

“On a serious note, I feel there is a lot at stake for India. If Pakistan bat first and make more than 180 runs, then trust me, the pressure gets to the biggest of players. If India can handle that pressure better than Pakistan, that’s fine, but what if Pakistan surprises you?” he questioned.

Speaking on Kohli, he felt that luck was not on Kohli’s side.

“Captain’s luck is not favourable for Virat Kohli. I feel that Virat Kohli is such a great cricketer, a great guy, but somehow, as a captain, his luck is not striking. I hope it doesn’t strike on the 24th,” Akhtar said.

Pakistan are placed in the second Group in the showpiece event along with India, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two qualifers.

After opening their campaign against the Virat Kohli-led Team India, Pakistan will next face New Zealand at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah October 26.

The Green Brigade will next take on Afghanistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai October 29 before facing the two qualifers on November 2 and 7 in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah respectively.

The two semifinals will be held on November 10 and November 11 with the final to be played on November 14 in Dubai.

Franchises will be allowed to retain 4 players in IPL 2022 auction: Report

The mega auction for the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is expected to take place either in December this year or January, 2022 and with two new all set to be added to the league’s roster, the main issue has been the number of players a franchise can retain ahead of the auction.

According to a report in Cricbuzz, discussions on the issue took place between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the franchise owners following which it was decided that a franchise can retain up to three Indian players and two overseas players with the overall count for retained players not crossing four.

“A team is set to be allowed to keep up to three Indian and two foreign players with the total number of retentions not exceeding four. There may also be a cap on retaining uncapped players – a team will not be allowed more than two,” the report stated.

“It is learnt that the player purse will be INR 90 crore, and in the subsequent two years, there will be an incremental hike and the purse will go up to INR 95 crore and INR 100 crore. If a franchisee chooses to retain four players, it will have to spend around 40-45 percent of its purse, leaving it INR 36-40 crore lesser than the franchise that doesn’t opt to retain any player,” it added.

The report further said that an official announcement on the retention rules will be done as soon as the two new franchises are finalised.

Notably, the sale of the two new teams is likely to take place on October 25 in Dubai.

Recently, IPL 2021 champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni had hinted that he will play the next season of the lucrative league while his franchise had reportedly said that a decision on whether to retain the talismanic skipper will be taken only after knowing the rules of the system.

Dhoni had said that he hadn’t decided how he would fit into the retention scheme of things and after his side defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 27 runs in the summit clash of IPL 2021, he had said: “Again I’ve said it before, it depends on the BCCI. With two new teams coming in, we have to decide what is good for CSK.”

“It’s not about me being there in the top-three or four. It’s about making a strong core to ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer. The core group, we have to have a hard look to see who can contribute for the next 10 years,” he had added.

Later, former BCCI president and India Cements Ltd (ICL) vice-chairman N Srinivasan had emphatically said that there is no CSK without their current skipper Dhoni.

When he was asked about Dhoni’s future with the Yellow Brigade, Srinivasan had said: “Dhoni is part and parcel of CSK. There is no CSK without Dhoni and there is no Dhoni without CSK.”

Meanwhile, Dhoni, 40, in an event celebrating 75 years of India Cements, had said that he hopes to play his last match in Chennai.

“When it comes to farewell, you can still come and see me play for CSK and that can be my farewell game. So, you will still get that opportunity to bid me farewell. Hopefully, we will come to Chennai and play my last game over there and we can meet the fans there,” Dhoni said while interacting with fans during the virtual event.

Dangal Games collaborates with Sanjay Manjrekar for T20 World Cup

Dangal Games, a skill and tech based online gaming platform, has entered into a strategic alliance with the legendary Sanjay Manjrekar, a former Indian cricketer and commentator who will be heading the advertising and marketing promotions for the company’s initiatives around the T20 ICC World Cup.

The online skill gaming platform has been a huge supporter of cricket and with its journey from catering to a non- card space to becoming one of the top tier Fantasy Gaming App, the platform has found success with the rising population of cricket fandom.

After displaying a fantastic career in National and International Cricket that spans from 1987 until 1996, Sanjay Manjrekar’s experience and on ground knowledge will provide an incredible start to the season and company’s marketing drive.

Commenting on this exclusive association, Manjrekar said: “I am proud to be a part of Dangal Games’ exciting journey of Fantasy Cricket. The Online Gaming Market is a relatively new platform and it would be great to venture into this innovative medium of sporting that has been enabling the convenience of enjoying your favorite sport from the comfort of the couch.”

“Dangal Games with its ever increasing fan base speaks volumes of the increasing craze for not just physical sporting but also virtual forms. It would be challenging but exciting to come up with innovative marketing initiatives with Dangal Games,” he added.

“T20 ICC World Cup has gained great popularity within a short span of time. This would definitely serve as a great opportunity to enjoy the sport from the other side of the stadium”, he added.

Speaking on the partnership, Ankit Anand, Business head, Fantasy Sports, Dangal Games said: “Sanjay has inspired millions of Indian Cricket Fans by his spectacular performance across matches. He has definitely set high standards for the cricket fans. It would be a great pleasure to work with him towards making our initiatives around the T20 ICC World Cup a great success.”

“His passion for the sport and years of knowledge would be vital elements that would add momentum to the entire drive dedicated to our valuable users. We believe in inspiring players to keep rising and keep gaming,” he added.

Dangal Games (founded by – Varun Mahna, Varun Puri, Shashwat Jain, Karan Gandhi & Manan Sobti) has catered to its audience remarkably well, with its first product: ‘PokerDangal’ finding a place among India’s top 5 online Poker platforms. With the phenomenal response received from the masses, in 2020, they diversified themselves and ventured into RummyDangal and till date have 5 Lac+ users registered on the platform. After witnessing a steady growth of the gaming sector, they chose to further diversify from their card games portfolio and launched the third product FantasyDangal in April 2021.

With things looking good, they are planning to further contribute with innovations and developments to strengthen the gaming industry.

Dangal Games flagship products: PokerDangal, RummyDangal and FantasyDangal are brands synonymous with excellent customer support and unparalleled user experience and with the launch of this new application the brand is gearing up to move the customer experience a notch higher. Dangal Games app features 50+ casual games under one unified application.

GAMMA World Championship invites Indian team to MMA C’ship in Germany

The team members from the KOI Combat Academy has been invited to the GAMMA World Championships in Germany, equivalent to the Olympics, which is being seen as a major achievement for India – and an opportunity to showcase Indian MMA athletes on the world stage.

Mixed martial arts, sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred, and ultimate fighting, is a full-contact combat sport based on striking & grappling, incorporating techniques from various combat sports including boxing, kickboxing and martial arts from around the world.

The team earlier came third in the Asian MMA Championships in Kyrgyzstan in August 2021 as it had bagged as many as five medals.

The KOI Combat Academy led by Vishal Seigell, has been independently nurturing MMA athletes, by identifying and adopting the young hopefuls. Vishal Seigell and the KOI Combat Academy completely supports the athletes with their training, equipment, supplements, medical, championships and even housing.

KOI Combat Academy started with a vision to support athletes who are from under privileged and weak socio-economic backgrounds. With a mission to providing opportunities to get them visibility at national and international levels.

“We have already been victorious at what could be the Asian Games of MMA – the Asian MMA Championships held in Kyrgyzstan in August 2021,” says Vishal Seigell, Founder, KOI Combat Academy.

“We have now been invited to participate, in what could be called the Olympics of MMA – The GAMMA World MMA Championships to be held in December 2021. This would be an excellent forum to showcase India and its talent to the world, and offer hope to the Indian youth – especially after the challenges of the pandemic,” he added.

Coach Vishal Seigell, Founder of the KOI Combat Academy started training in MMA at 6 years of age – and has numerous achievements to his credit as head coach of the Indian National MMA Team (AIMMAF) (2021), World Kickboxing Network Supervisor among many others.

The athletes are looking for sponsorships for the tournament, and are training intensely. The team consists of 6 athletes, the head coach – manager and an assistant coach.

The athletes – Naoram Dinesh, Subala Laishram, Kishore Gowda, Havish Reddy, Ajit Negi and Rupjyoti Choudhary are getting ready to be the new champions of the world.

Hardik Pandya expected to bowl against Pakistan, hints Rohit Sharma

Team Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma has hinted that all-rounder Hardik Pandya might bowl when their side begins its T20 World Cup campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24 at the Dubai International Cricket stadium in Dubai.

Sharma, who led the India in their second warm-up game against Australia, had said his side needs the services of a sixth bowler.

Notably, several questions have been raised over Hardik, who has refrained from bowling since a long time and the all-rounder also didn’t bolwed a single over in the recently concluded season of Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Hardik is coming along pretty well, but it’ll be a while before he will start to bowl. He hasn’t started bowling, but he should be ready by the start of the tournament,” Rohit had said at the toss for the warm-up match against Australia couple of days back.

“We have quality in the main bowlers, but you need an option for a sixth bowler,” he added.

“We want to make sure that we get the sixth bowling option, some options in the batting order as well, we’ll try all those things today,” he had said.

In the recent times, Hardik’s fitness has been a cause of concern for the Men in Blue. It was due to his fitness which had forced the selectors to make a change in their 15-memeber squad for the T20 World Cup as Shardul Thakur, who was in the reserves, was bought in place of spinner Axar Patel because the Mumbai cricketer was the only seamer in the squad who can also be handy with the willow.

Recently, former India opener Gautam Gambhir had said that Hardik, not bowling could a big concern for the Kohli-led side.

“If I have to go with just five bowlers, then I will pick Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya on current form. If you are going with five proper bowlers and six batsmen, Hardik’s form is probably a massive concern. Forget about the bowling, with the bat as well,” Gambhir had said on Star Sports show Gameplan.

“For me, Hardik Pandya gets into India’s playing XI only if he does proper bowling in both warmup games, not only in the nets. There is a huge difference between bowling in the nets and against quality batsmen like Babar Azam and that too in the World Cup,” he had added.

After beating England in their first warm-up fixture by seven wickets, the Men in Blue once again produced an all-round display as they had thrashed Australia by eight wickets in their second practise game.

India will now play Pakistan in the blockbuster clash of the showpiece event on October 24 in Dubai.

The Men In Blue, placed in the second group, will next face New Zealand on October 31 at the same venue before facing Afghanistan on November 3 in Abu Dhabi.

India will then take on the two of the four qualifiers on November 5 and 8 in Dubai.

The two semifinals will be held on November 10 and November 11 with the final to be played on November 14.

2007 WC winning star share views on upcoming Ind-Pak clash

The evening of October 24 will see the Dubai International Stadium house one of the most historic and mouth-watering clashes in cricketing history as the Virat Kohli-led Team India will lock horns with arch-nemesis Pakistan in the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on Sunday.

After almost a two-year hiatus, Virat Kohli and Co. face-off against Babar Azam-led Pakistan in this highly anticipated encounter which will also be the Indian skipper’s swansong with the captaincy tag. Pakistan is yet to get a one-up over their rivals in World Cups as the head-to-head has been heavily dominated by the Men in Blue.

However, both teams have entered the tournament with a fresh perspective, filled to the brim with enormous young talent and the hunger and eagerness to prove themselves on the biggest stage of them all.

Virat will be eyeing a huge victory over their rivals to establish their foothold, which will also set the precedent and momentum in the marquee tournament. The mentorship of MS Dhoni will help in resonating a positive mindset and confidence amongst the Indian team.

Exceptional performances topped by victories in the two warm-up games against England and Australia have been massive boosts for young talents like Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Rahul Chahar, who have showcased their talent and skill ahead of the opener. The opening pair of KL Rahul and ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma have shown their prowess and never cease to impress.

Jasprith Bumrah’s magic with the white ball will be looking to shut down the dangerous early efforts of Babar Azam with the bat.

Speaking exclusively on Star Sports show ‘Class of 2007’, former Team India all-rounder Irfan Pathan spoke about Virat Kohli’s men in the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

“I think nobody expected anything from the 2007 team, but there are a lot of expectations from the current World Cup squad. The new team has expectations and experience. When we entered the 2007 T20 World Cup, we hardly had the experience of playing in T20 format. But now, things are different, people play IPL, they play a lot of T20 games and there are a lot of conversations around T20 format,” Pathan expressed.

“In 2007, there was no social media, but now there is social media, so there are lot of conversations around performances and memes. I think the boys know that there are lot of expectations from them and they know how to handle it,” he added.

Speaking exclusively on Star Sports show ‘Class of 2007’, veteran Team India wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik spoke about the Indian squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, “I completely agree with what Irfan said. It’s completely different in terms of handling pressure, but one thing is very different today to what it was in 2007 is the fact that they have plenty of IPL experience and they have played in high pressure games and they have played in matches which are – when it comes to pressure, it’s second to none.”

Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Karthik, RP Singh, Ajit Agarkar aslo shared their thoughts on who will be Team India’s X factor in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Gautam Gambhir: “Jasprit Bumrah!”

Harbhajan Singh: “I think if I have to choose one, I will Rohit Sharma. I think he’s going to be the key!”

Dinesh Karthik: “I will put my money on Hardik Pandya and Varun Chakravarthy. I think these two can make the difference in T20 World Cup.”

Ajit Agarkar: “Rohit Sharma & Jasprit Bumrah. I think Rohit could be the key, opening the innings and Bumrah with what he does.”

RP Singh: “Jasprit Bumrah!”

Irfan Pathan: “I think Jasprit Bumrah and his opposite end. I think the two bowlers who will bowl in the last overs are crucial.”

Record-breaker and captain of the Pakistan team, Babar Azam is the perfect example of ‘letting the bat do the talking’. His 50 off 41 balls against the West Indies in the warm-up game is a warning sign for India because once the 27-year-old gets going with the bat, he transforms into a beast, who is very difficult to contain.

Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez bring a comforting amount of experience to the Pakistani side, their previous meetings with India in past world cups will be a definite advantage for the team. Shaheen Afridi, a 21-year-old prospect proven in the Pakistan Super League, has dished out top performances in both warm-up games by picking up a total of 4 wickets. Hasan Ali looks to be the standout pacer for the Men in Green.

The lanky pacer excels at a slower wicket in the UAE, his variations and lengths will be a tough task for the Indian batters to manage against.