India v Pakistan, 2nd T20, Ahmedabad December 27, 2012

Sound bowling options give Pakistan edge


Match facts

December 28, 2012
Start time 1700 (1130 GMT)

Big Picture

A fabled rivalry was renewed after a five-year hiatus with a cracking match in Bangalore. The track wasn't the usual Twenty20 bowler-killing slab, having enough spice to interest the quicks. There were collapses, fightbacks and some heated moments, before Shoaib Malik enhanced his reputation for raising his game against India with a half-century that was topped off by a match-winning six in the final over. Ahmedabad fans will hope for similar thrills, but a different result, on Friday.

The IPL is regularly put forth as one of the reasons for India's Test decline. While that argument has divided opinion, the IPL doesn't seem to have done much to improve India's Twenty20 performances either. Their previous three World Twenty20 campaigns have been lacklustre, and while the batting is more or less settled, no bowler has yet nailed yet his place in the XI. The one spinner who had done that, R Ashwin, was surprisingly left out of the first T20, a move that Mohammad Hafeez suggested helped Pakistan.

In contrast, Pakistan have a plethora of bowling options, with Hafeez playing as a genuine allrounder, and Malik and Shahid Afridi able to contribute with both bat and ball. They also have two of the most successful T20 bowlers in Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul, who combined to trigger India's astonishing late-innings slide in Bangalore. The home side's batting needs to find a way to negotiate them, if they are to stand a serious chance of levelling the series.

Form guide

India LLWWW (Completed games, most recent first)
Pakistan WLWLW

Players to watch

A noisy Chinnaswamy Stadium became even more deafeningly loud when debutant seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the ball to snake both ways, castling two Pakistan batsmen and having another caught behind. It was not just the swerving deliveries that excited the fans but the manner in which he set up the dismissals. It was a dream start for Bhuvneshwar, but can he repeat the magic or was it a one-off? Ahmedabad will give us a clue.

Another new-ball bowler who didn't just catch the eye but demanded attention with his towering frame was Mohammad Irfan. He was regularly around the 90mph mark, troubling the India batsmen with his pace and bounce. He was much quicker than in his previous international outings - a couple of ODIs against England in 2010 - and drew high praise from Wasim Akram.

Stats and Trivia

  • Umar Akmal's zero in the first T20 was the fifth of his career, leaving him one behind four players - including Shahid Afridi - for the most ducks in T20s
  • Virat Kohli needs 29 runs to break Martin Guptill's record for the most T20 runs in a calendar year*


"The way we played the last match, our morale is quite high… I will give credit to the bowlers and fielders. They [India] were 70 for no loss and after that we came back. Bowling has always been our strength and in the last match, even after a bad start, the comeback was outstanding. As a captain I am very pleased with that."
Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan captain

"The conditions here are different. The one [pitch] in Bangalore was seaming and over here, it will be slow and offer turn. There is no pressure on us."
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the India medium-pacer

*03.37GMT December 27: The stat had earlier incorrectly included Umar Akmal. This has been changed

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yasir on December 28, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Ohh man!!! How are we going to chase such a huge total..Come on Greens..Start attacking right from the first ball..Ahmed Shehzad..Today is the day you prove yourself or you are out forever..Goodluck Greens

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    Go Green Go...!! Gud Luck team Pakistan

  • Saleem on December 28, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    Expect another HIGH-VOLTAGE, fierce contest in offing. Its gonna be one heluva game. Much will depend on INDIAN BOWLING and Pakistan BATTING ! Go Paki Go. Do it again, ya babe !

  • Jon on December 28, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Come on India, show us all something. Initially I delighted at watching us beat India in their own backyard but now I am worried about what the future holds. As much as some of the Indian forum trolls can annoy me, the global game needs a strong Indian side (particularly test match). The rapidity at which their cricket is declining is worrying me greatly and the BCCI seems to be providing no direction at all.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    Good luck team Pakistan. You have the capability to beat Indians. Come on......

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Teams need to be attacking, but team batting first should assure 155 runz, so no need to all out attack, 155 would be enough for both sides. dont go for 170+ its a risk, go after ajmal that will hurt Pakistan, but ajmal is not jadeja :P. get kohli cheaply,but raina? this is all about indo pak

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    we all knw dat pakistan team is da world best team in t20 cricket,bt india,s tour is always preasure tour for both 1st match victory boost the pakistan,s team moral,i pray 4m GOD for the victory of pakistan.INDIA,S bad raputation in cricket due to IPL,coz IPL is,t producing cricketers,they jst producing entetainers.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    @Khurramsh: You are right man, i was refering to B kumar.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    india need a seamer ... a good one ...... i hope b. kumar is the hope ...... waise .... what a rivalry's like manchester city vs manchester united .... kise hor naal wadiya khed ya na khedan par ...appas wich ... pura zor launde ne .... i hope india will win today ...)))) .... so series level and no one win ..... )))

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    I think India will come back very strongly in this game.Pakistan have very good bowlers, but India have a strong batting line up.Pakistans batting have always been their weak link.