The World Twenty20 steps up a gear Friday as cricket’s top eight sides enter the fray, with Pakistan seeking a historic win against India in the second round’s standout clash.
Minnows of international cricket have been slogging it out in the expanded 16-nation tournament so far with two qualifying spots and a chance to join the big boys up for grabs from round one.
In the Super-10 stage, Asian giants Pakistan and India will be joined in Group Two by the West Indies, Australia and one of the successful qualifiers. The other qualifier will join South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand in Group One with two sides from each group advancing to the semi-finals. The identity of the two qualifiers from round one will be known just hours before Pakistan bid to defeat arch rivals India for the first time at the World Twenty20.
“We beat India in the Asia Cup this month and this team looks good to make history,” a confident Pakistani coach Moin Khan said ahead of the round-two opener in Dhaka.
“But they must express themselves freely on the field and not worry about the result,” he added.
Despite having never beaten India in the competition, Pakistan enjoy a better World T20 record than their opponents, an anomaly that will give confidence to captain Mohammad Hafeez’s side. Pakistan have qualified for the semi-finals in all four editions, winning the tournament in 2009 in England after being runners-up in the inaugural event.
India, however, have not made the semi-finals since taking the title in 2007, despite the popularity of the T20 Indian Premier League over the last six years.