India bowl on 'sticky' pitch; Pakistan bring in Sami

Toss India chose to bowl v Pakistan
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Raja: Pakistan have forgotten how to beat India

Everyone wanted to be at the India-Pakistan game. Even the rain. The Eden Gardens, for all its history, is not best equipped to handle wet weather. But they had brought in new covers and an extra super sopper which prevented the water from seeping into the turf. So an on-and-off drizzle since 5pm ate away only two overs per innings.

As is often the case in shortened games, the captain winning the toss wanted to chase and MS Dhoni was no different. He thought the pitch, having been under the covers for a long time, was “sticky” and preferred the option of seeing how it behaves first before having to bat on it.

Pakistan were confident of putting up a good total. They had racked up 201 runs against Bangladesh and Shahid Afridi “expected” his top order to come good again. That faith was evident in the team that was selected. They went in a batsman light – Imad Wasim was left out – and fast bowler Mohammad Sami was added to a pack that already includes Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz.

India were unchanged since their loss to New Zealand on the opening day of the Super 10s. Currently placed fourth in a group of five, they need to win, or they will have to rely on other results going their way.

The toss happened at 8.10 pm, after a ceremony that featured Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The crowd were happy to indulge though considering the stalwarts who were on the stage.

India: 1 Shikhar Dhawan 2 Rohit Sharma 3 Virat Kohli 4 Suresh Raina 5 Yuvraj Singh 6 Hardik Pandya 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja 9 R Ashwin 10 Ashish Nehra 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Pakistan: 1 Sharjeel Khan 2 Ahmed Shehzad 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Umar Akmal 5 Shoaib Malik 6 Shahid Afridi (capt) 7 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk) 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Mohammad Sami, 10 Mohammad Amir 11 Mohammad Irfan

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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