Pakistan bowls 1st against rival India in grudge match on mystery pitch at T20 World Cup in New York

WESTBURY, N.Y. — Pakistan won the important toss on a mystery cricket pitch and chose to bowl first against its archrival India in the marquee game at the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday.

Rain delayed the toss for the Group A game by half an hour, with another interruption preventing any play before the revised start time of 11:20 a.m. EDT (1520 GMT). Pakistan quick Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled the first ball to India opener Rohit Sharma in overcast conditions.

Tricky drop-in pitches in New York’s newly purpose-built 34,000 capacity stadium will once again come into focus. Canada is the only team which has successfully defended 137 against Ireland in four low-scoring games on wickets which have variable bounce.

The ICC had to revisit the square of four drop-in pitches after the first two low-scoring games but the pitches have given little respite to the batters so far.

An unsettled Pakistan made one change Sunday from its shocking defeat against tournament co-host U.S. in the Super Over at Dallas as it brought in fit-again all-rounder Imad Wasim in place of out-of-sorts Azam Khan. Wasim missed Pakistan’s opener because of side strain but was declared fit for the crunch game.

“The past is the past, and we’re looking forward to this match,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said.

India retained the same team which thumped Ireland by eight wickets at the same New York venue where variable bounce got the Irish team dismissed for 96 and India raced to 97-2 with more than seven overs to spare.

India has been based in New York since it arrived in the U.S. It also played a warmup game against Bangladesh before beating Ireland.

“We’ve played a few games here (and) we’ve tried to assess the conditions as much as possible,” India captain Rohit Sharma said. “Every game is important. Anything can happen, this is a very funny tournament.”



Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Haris Rauf.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj.


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