ICC T20 World Cup 2021: ‘Virat Kohli-Rohit Sharma will play crucial role in India-Pakistan game,’ says Gambhir

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India and Pakistan are placed in Group 2 along with World Test Championship winners New Zealand and Afghanistan. While Group 1 comprises defending champions West Indies, former winners England, Australia, and South Africa. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in India but the BCCI decided to move it out of the country due to an expected third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

ICC T20 World Cup Groups 2021: India to face Pakistan in a thrilling Super 12 match; Find out full grouping!

The Groups of Super 12s have been selected on the basis of team rankings as of 20 March 2021, according to the International Cricket Council. Two teams will join each of the groups from the qualifying rounds.

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Eight teams will contest the first round including automatic qualifiers Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with the remaining six who booked their spot through the ICC men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019.

Since India and Pakistan are placed in the same group the two teams have chances of playing each other more than once in the tournament. With India-Pakistan matches being the most sought-after clashes of any ICC flagship event, the global cricketing body has been deliberately putting the two teams in the same groups for obvious reasons.

Soon after the T20 WC groups were unveiled by the ICC, the cricketing fraternity started reacting over India-Pakistan being placed in the same group. Former Team India batsman Gautam Gambhir – who has been a part of several India-Pakistan WC contests in his international career – claimed senior players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will have a huge responsibility in the marquee clash.

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Recalling his experience of playing his maiden international game against Pakistan, Gambhir said, “When I played my first international game against Pakistan I was probably much more excited and nervous as compared to some of the guys who’ve played a lot of cricket against Pakistan.

“So, it is the responsibility of the senior guys to probably keep the younger guys calm; because ultimately it’s not the emotion that will win you a game of cricket, it is the contest between the bat and the ball that will end up winning you a game of cricket. So people like Virat Kohli for example, or Rohit Sharma will have a huge responsibility when Indian takes on Pakistan.”

When the last time these two sides met each other in the T20 World Cup in 2016, Kohli had played one of the finest T20 knocks of the tournament. The India swashbuckler scored 55* off 37 deliveries as India chased down a target of 119 in 15.5 overs and defeated Pakistan by six wickets at the iconic Eden Gardens. The Shahid Afridi-led Pakistan side scored a below-par 118 for 5 in 18 overs as the game was reduced due to rain.

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