The draw for the 2022 edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup set to be held in Australia has been announced recently, with arch-rivals India and Pakistan once again being placed in the same group. Group 2 of the T20 World Cup will feature Bangladesh and South Africa along with the two teams, raising the stakes for Men in Blue to perform well in every fixture.
With Rohit Sharma taking over the captaincy of the team across all formats from Virat Kohli, Indian fans will be expecting a turnaround in fortunes for the team which has dominated across the world but has failed to win silverware.
We take a look at India’s fixtures in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with special focus on the blockbuster MCG fixture which could see more than 90,000 fans attending the event.
CAN INDIA AVENGE THEIR LOSS?
India and Pakistan rarely meet at the international stage, giving any clash astronomical stakes for teams and fans of both sides. Their repeated inclusion in the same group of every major international tournament becomes an occasion for worldwide cricket fans and is expectedly the second-most anticipated fixture apart from the finals.
While the tournament will kickstart with Australia taking on their neighbours New Zealand, the party for subcontinent fans will begin a day later on 23rd October at the MCG.
India met Pakistan on six previous occasions in the T20 World Cup with the Men in Blue dominating their arch-rivals with five wins. The first meeting between the two turned out to be an intense battle in the inaugural T20 World Cup, with the match ending in a tie and being decided with the bowl-out system.
But it will be the final match of the tournament in Johannesburg that will be forever remembered by the fans. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy and Joginder Sharma’s final over gave India their first World Cup title after 1983, announcing India’s ascendancy once more.
The next three fixtures between the two sides turned out to be one-sided affairs with India easily dominating a lacklustre Pakistani side.
But the tables have turned in the 2021 T20 World Cup when Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan stunned the world with their brilliant opening partnership which ultimately resulted in their easy victory.
The loss to Pakistan also cost India a place in the playoffs and is one of the reasons for the change in the leadership structure that the team has seen in recent weeks. With India’s experience on Australian pitches now established, the team will be looking to brush aside the challenge from Pakistan and focus their efforts on winning the title.
WILL THE PROTEAS DERAIL INDIA’S CHANCES?
The structure of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup tournament only allows two teams to progress from each group in the Super 12 to the semifinals.
While India and Pakistan are the clear favourites from Group 2, South Africa under their captain Temba Bavuma are going from strength-to-strength in recent months. The series victory against India, even if it was in One-Day Internationals, has boosted their confidence further for the challenged ahead.
The Proteas will face Bangladesh and the winner of Group B before their encounter with India on 30th October. India have a good record against South Africa in T20 World Cups, winning four out of five meetings.
With two easy fixtures before the match compared to India’s initial challenge with Pakistan, any slip-up on the part of Men in Blue can result in the momentum being with the South Africans.
WEST INDIES COULD EMERGE AS DARK HORSES
The winner of Group B and runner-up of Group A will join the four teams in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage. With the chances of surprises still present, Windies will be a part of the group by winning Group B as they are clearly the dominant side in the group.
The two-time World Champions fell from their glory days as they continue their efforts to stitch up a side to resemble the legendary teams of the past. They suffered an ignominious elimination in the 2021 World Cup where they were the defending champions, managing to win just one fixture.
The ongoing series against England and the upcoming series against India could give the Windies a chance to regroup and start their preparations for the World Cup. An explosive side should never be completely ruled out, and even if they do not manage to progress to the semifinals, just a single upset for India or Pakistan could change the final standings in the group.
With India’s fixture against winners of Group B scheduled to be held on 6th November – the closing day of the Super 12 fixtures – the tournament could go down to the wire.
MUST-WIN ENCOUNTERS AGAINST MINNOWS
India will face the runner ups of Group B on 27th October in between the Pakistan and South Africa fixtures. They will face Bangladesh on 2nd November, giving them an opportunity to breathe and possibly rotate players for crucial fixtures.
India’s record against Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup is perfect – with the Men in Blue winning three out of three encounters against the Tigers.
But with four teams in contention for the two spots, every victory matters. Rohit Sharma’s men must also pump up their Net Run Rate in these matches to give them an advantage in the final standings, as they learnt it the hard way in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
23rd October 2022 – India vs Pakistan – Melbourne Cricket Ground
27th October 2022 – India vs Group A Runner-up – Sydney Cricket Ground
30th October 2022 – India vs South Africa – Perth Stadium
2nd November 2022 – India vs Bangladesh – Adelaide Oval
6th November 2022 – India vs Group B Winner – Melbourne Cricket Ground
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