Saturday, 4 December, 2021
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Pakistan look to break World Cup jinx against India

Babar Azam's Pakistan will look to end their losing streak against India at the Twenty20 World Cup when the two rivals begin their title race in a Sunday blockbuster. India have beaten Pakistan in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups.

India skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday said they will take on a "very strong" Pakistan team in their Twenty20 World Cup opener and downplayed their unbeaten record against their opponents.

"We never discussed these things, about our record and past performance," Kohli told reporters on the eve of the much-anticipated clash in Dubai on Sunday.

"These things create distractions. What matters is how we prepare and execute on that particular day, regardless of the opposition."

Kohli said regardless of their past dominance Pakistan is and always has been packed with talented players.

"Pakistan, according to me is a very strong team and always has been a strong side," he said.

"You have to play your best cricket against them, because they have lots of talent and players who can change the game."

Azam, who is in top form with two T20 centuries this year, believes his team can break the World Cup jinx.

"Definitely we have played a lot of cricket in the UAE," Babar said when asked about his team's dismal 0-5 record against India in T20 World Cup clashes. "These conditions suit us and we know how to play here. We need to keep things simple in all the departments."

The two teams last met in the 2019 ODI World Cup in England as India only plays Pakistan in multi-nation events after cutting off bilateral cricket ties with their neighbours following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

India, who have blamed Pakistan for importing terror, last hosted their neighbours in a bilateral series in 2013 during a brief thaw in their rivalry. There have been protests in India with calls to boycott the match in the wake of recent killings of 11 migrant workers and minority Hindus and Sikhs in Indian-administered Kashmir.

But fans from both the nations have shown immense interest in watching Sunday's game in Dubai as tickets for the key contest were sold out hours after they went on sale early this month.