T20 World Cup 2024: Experts predict winner in epic India-Pakistan showdown

The highly-anticipated India versus Pakistan clash is scheduled to be held at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, June 9.

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India vs Pakistan
India vs Pakistan. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Tension within the cricket fraternity is palpable in the lead-up to Sunday's much-awaited India versus Pakistan Group A clash in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024. While India are entering as the favourites, Pakistan are traditionally known for throwing up surprises, especially at ICC events. The marquee clash is set to take place at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

Ahead of the high-voltage clash, several experts, who are discussing and dissecting all the action from the show-piece event on Star Sports, were asked to name their favourites. Sunil Gavaskar, Wasim Akram, Harbhajan Singh, and Waqar Younis are some of the experts who named their favourites. While all of them backed India to win, Waqar said that the New York pitch would favour the Pakistani pacers.

While Harbhajan said that India are a much better side than Pakistan, especially in the batting department, Akram gave the inaugural champions a 60-40 edge against their age-old rivals.

“India's batting is way above that of Pakistan. In the bowling department, we have [Jasprit] Bumrah, Hardik [Pandya] has returned to form, [Mohammed] Siraj is doing well, Arshdeep [Singh] is there. Team is way better than them,” Harbhajan said in a Star Sports video.

“If we see the record, India is the better team. Better team in a way that they are the favourites going into that game. I'll give 60% to India and 40% to Pakistan. But in T20Is, one good innings or one good spell could change the match. But everybody is looking forward to the game of the tournament,” Akram said.

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Navjot Singh Sidhu pointed out the overall balance and form of the batters while naming India as his favourites. Meanwhile, Waqar gave Pakistan a slight edge because of the seamer-friendly conditions in New York.

“See, I believe that Indian team is way more balanced than Pakistan. Three quality all-rounders, six-seven bowling options, batters are in form, Rohit [Sharma] is in form. So, anything could happen in a game but India's form, approach, attitude, and the presence of star batters make India the favourites,” ex-India opener stated.

“My prediction, my heart says Pakistan. What I've seen so far in this tournament, the pitch in New York is very much for the fast bowlers. This evens it out a little bit, just purely because of the surface there in New York,” Waqar said.

Gavaskar and Steve Smith were quite confident in naming India as the favourites in the eagerly-awaited encounter.

“India, of course, definitely. I know the pitch is spicy but we have got four fast bowlers who are doing well, Rohit Sharma has got a half-century, Rishabh Pant has batted well. So, all in all, it looks as if India is in good form,” Gavaskar said.

“India are gonna win, it's gonna be a terrific game. Two great fast-bowling line-ups going against each other on a tough surface, but India for me,” the Aussie said.

India's batting in the powerplay against PAK pacers is going to be the deciding factor: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan said that the performance of India's top order against the Pakistan pacers is going to be crucial. Meanwhile, Ramiz Raja named India as the favourites but said that the tricky conditions in New York will give Pakistan some hope.

“See, I feel India will win. They are a strong team. However, the deciding factor will be the pitch. Because the New York pitch is helping the fast bowlers. The ball is swinging consistently and there is a possibility that Pakistan will be playing with four fast bowlers. India's batting in the powerplay against their pacers is going to be the deciding factor. I hope Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Rishabh Pant counter the first six overs nicely, the match will be in India's grip,” Pathan explained.

“See, I feel India are the favourites. They have ticked all the boxes and deserve the favourites tag. They aren't getting hit anywhere. Pakistan have to do a lot of hard work. I don't know how the pitch is going to be. If the conditions are proper, India are way ahead of Pakistan. However, because of the tricky conditions, nothing is known, it has brought Pakistan back into a 50-50 situation,” Ramiz Raja said.

S Sreesanth predicted a win for India and named Hardik Pandya as the X-factor Player in the game. On the other hand, former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody said that India are 70-30 favourites to win on Sunday.

“I think India will win. No doubt. Virat Kohli is always the X-factor but this time it will be Hardik Pandya,” S Sreesanth said.

"I think it's going to be 70-30. 70 in favour of India, mainly because they've had the taste of what the conditions are like in New York. Looking forward to this blockbuster but India (are) my favourites," Tom Moody stated.

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: Rohit, Kohli, Hardik open up on playing against Pakistan

Former India cricketers Ambati Rayudu and Piyush Chawla also said that Rohit Sharma and Co. will emerge victorious in the crucial fixture.

“No, I think toss will be a huge factor in the game. Definitely think India will come out on top,” Ambati Rayudu said.

“I feel India will win because they have got the upper hand. They are the better side on paper,” Chawla mentioned.

India are coming off a comprehensive eight-wicket win against Ireland in their opening game of the 2024 T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, Pakistan suffered a massive upset against the USA in their first game and will be desperate to get off the mark in the 20-team competition.

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