T20 WC: ‘Playing against Pakistan tricky as they and India do not play much against each other’, says Harbhajan Singh

New Delhi, May 16 Harbhajan Singh, former off-spinner and member of the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup winning team, believes it will be a tricky time for India when they face Pakistan in the upcoming edition of the mega event as both countries don’t play much against each other internationally.

It’s little less than a month now for the highly-anticipated 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup Group A match between India and Pakistan to be held at the newly-built Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on June 9.

In the seven meetings between these two teams in the Men’s T20 World Cup, India have emerged victorious six times. The last time the two teams faced off internationally was in the Men’s T20 World Cup in October 2022 inside a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground, where Virat Kohli’s sensational 82 not out helped India get a thrilling four-wicket win over Pakistan.

"At the end of the day, playing against Pakistan is always (tricky) as both countries do not play much against each other. We do not know much about their strong and weak zones but the Indian management keeps track of every player and their strong and weak zones.”

“In the bowling department too, Pakistan bowlers keep themselves mentally and physically strong. These aspects will be taken care of by the Indian team. These things will come into play when both sides will battle it out on the field," said Harbhajan while responding to an IANS query during an episode of the ‘Star Sports Press Room’ show.

Pakistan’s unpredictability factor along with how the New York pitch would behave also adds as a challenge for India. But Harbhajan thinks the Indian team being more aware about their own game and taking decisions based on the on-ground conditions will be key.

"It also depends on what decision you take on that particular day. You know Virat Kohli plays cover drive beautifully but bowlers still check him in the same area to get an outside edge in the slip. These chances you have to take according to the conditions. It is not important how much you know about your opponent but how much you are aware of your game. That is what matters the most and everything else is basic," he added.

The 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup will be held across six venues in the West Indies and three stadiums in the USA. In the Caribbean, Kensington Oval in Barbados, Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad, Providence Stadium in Guyana, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia and Arnos Vale Stadium, St Vincent will be the hosts’.

In the USA, apart from New York, Broward County in Lauderhill, Florida and Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, Texas, will be the venues. 20 teams will be divided into four groups of five each for the first round. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super eight stage.

In the Super Eight stage, teams will be split into two groups of four each. Teams seeded first and second in their groups in the first round will retain that seeding in the Super Eight, provided they qualify.

A1, B2, C1 and D2 finishers will be in one group, while A2, B1, C2 and D1 will be slotted in the other group. Top two sides from two groups of the Super eight will advance to the semifinals. The semifinals will be held in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago on June 26 and 27 respectively, while the final will be held in Barbados on June 29.

Source: IANS

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