Team India will kick off their ICC T20 World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in a blockbuster match this Sunday evening. The Indian cricket team has a 100% win record against Pakistan in T20 World Cup matches. The two nations crossed paths for the first time in 2007 T20 World Cup, where the match ended in a tie, but India prevailed in the bowl-out.
Later in the same competition, the Men in Blue battled against the Men in Green in the summit clash. India beat Pakistan in a close encounter to become the inaugural T20 World Cup winners. India also beat Pakistan in 2012, 2014 and 2016 T20 World Cup tournaments. Fans expect Virat Kohli and co. to win their opening match. To make sure India prevail in their first match, the team management might make the following two bold calls.
1. Prefer Shardul Thakur over Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the India vs. Pakistan match
Many cricket experts have picked their playing XI for India’s opening fixture against Pakistan. Quite a few of them have selected both Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and predicted that either one of them could play along with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in the pace attack.
Kumar has not been at his best in the recent matches. Even in the warm-up match against England, Kumar conceded many runs. India might make a bold call of leaving the experienced bowler out of the playing XI for Shardul Thakur. There are two benefits of selecting Thakur. One is that he can smash the big shots in the lower middle-order. The second is that he is in great form and in IPL 2021, he picked big wickets.
2. Prefer Ishan Kishan as a finisher
Hardik Pandya did not bowl a single over in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 warm-up matches. He looked in good touch with the bat, but India will not use him as a sixth bowling option, they could probably use Ishan Kishan as a finisher.
Kishan regained his form during the second phase of IPL 2021. He is hitting the ball clean and can be a game-changer for India if given the proper opportunities.