T20 World Cup: Will mercurial Pakistan bounce back against India after shock defeat to USA?

Watch India vs Pakistan at the T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports from 3pm on Sunday (3.30pm first ball); Pakistan suffered shock loss to co-hosts USA on Thursday but have recovered from setbacks in the past and need to again as they face side they have only beaten once in all World Cups

Image: Pakistan will be looking to bounce back from a shock defeat against USA against their old foes India

It would be so Pakistan to rebound from a shock defeat to the USA by upsetting tournament favourites India at the T20 World Cup.

In the last edition of this competition, in Australia in 2022, they were on the brink of an early elimination after floundering against Zimbabwe but then went on to reach the final.

Dreadful one minute, devastating the next. It’s the Pakistan way.

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Highlights from Dallas as USA pulled off a stunning upset to defeat Pakistan in a T20 World Cup Super Over

“It has become a complete cliché to talk about their highs and lows but they are a side that scale the rooftops and plumb the depths more than most,” said Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton as he reflected on Pakistan’s surprise Super Over loss in Dallas on Thursday and ahead to the blockbuster showdown against India on Sunday (3.30pm).

“You wouldn’t put it past them to completely turn around against India but they are going to have to play a whole lot better than they did in the first game, and in England beforehand where they didn’t look like a side you would class as one of the top challengers.”

Babar: We were bad in every area against USA

Pakistan captain Babar Azam pulled no punches in his assessment of the 2009 T20 World Cup champions’ defeat to the USA, which followed a 2-0 T20I series loss in England late last month: “We are not playing well, in fielding, bowling and batting”.

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Watch the moment USA pulled off a shock Super Over victory against Pakistan in Dallas

Babar’s men stuttered to 159-7 against the co-hosts earlier this week and were then out-of-sorts with the ball before dragging the game back in their favour in the closing overs, leaving USA requiring 15 runs from Haris Rauf’s final six deliveries.

However, Aaron Jones’ six and a last-delivery boundary for Nitish Kumar took the contest to overtime, before USA racked up 18 runs from Mohammad Amir’s sloppy Super Over, thanks largely to a series of wides as well as some miscommunication in the field.

With Pakistan only able to score 13 runs in reply – why the six-hitting Fakhar Zaman did not face a ball was a mystery to all – USA recorded a famous win and Babar’s boys a chastening defeat.

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USA captain Monank Patel reflected on a ‘big day’ for his country as Pakistan skipper Babar Azam declared himself ‘upset’ at his side’s display

Now they face a side they have only beaten once in 15 attempts across all World Cups – in the 2021 T20 jamboree in the UAE when they thrashed their rivals by 10 wickets – with six T20 World Cup losses out of seven and eight out of eight in the 50-over version.

How will India fare on an unruly New York pitch?

India, eight-wicket winners against Ireland in their competition opener, will be strong favourites but the unpredictable nature of the New York pitch – some deliveries have shot up and others scudded through low in the matches at the venue so far – gives Pakistan hope, according to Atherton.

The former England skipper said: “One thing that could be in their favour, or at least a spanner in the works, is the New York pitch. The unknown quantity of the surface, and also that they have an attack that can exploit an up-and-down pitch.”

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Highlights from India’s opening game at the 2024 T20 World Cup as they beat Ireland by eight wickets

Atherton’s fellow pundit Nasser Hussain said of Pakistan, who restored Mohammad Rizwan as wicketkeeper against USA after Azam Khan fulfilled the role in the England series: “I would try and give some clarity in thought.

“Who are the openers? Who is keeping wicket? Who is taking the new ball? Who is batting and bowling if there is another Super Over?

“Also, if they are going to be Pakistan-like and lose one day and win the next, they have to start well and get momentum.

“I was there in Dubai for one of their famous wins over India, in the 2021 T20 World Cup, when Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up the early wickets of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. That set the tone.”

Image: Pakistan have only beaten India once across 50-over and 20-over World Cups

On India, Hussain noted the performance of all-rounder Hardik Pandya against Ireland – the seamer bagging three wickets as his side skittled their opponents for 96 on that difficult pitch.

He said: “The big thing for India is Pandya. If he can play that all-rounder role like he has done over the years with bat, ball and in the field, and bring leadership as well in support of Rohit, then the balance of that side means they can have the long batting line-up.”

On to Sunday it is then. India to maintain their World Cup dominance or their opponents to spring a surprise? Whatever the result, you know with Pakistan that it won’t be dull.

Image: Watch India vs Pakistan in the T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports on Sunday

Watch India vs Pakistan at the Men’s T20 World Cup, in New York, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event on Sunday. Build-up begins at 3pm ahead of the first ball at 3.30pm.

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