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India vs Pakistan tips and predictions: Virat Kohli to light up New York

India take on fierce rivals Pakistan on Sunday (1530 BST) as the T20 World Cup group stage hots up in New York.

There are three certainties in life... death, taxes and India drawing Pakistan in an ICC event.

This will be the latest instalment in a fierce rivalry and as the teams don't contest a bilateral series, it pulls in huge viewing figures across the globe.

The Indians brushed Ireland aside by eight wickets in their opening match on Wednesday, while Pakistan...oh dear...lost to USA in a Super Over, which the great Wasim Akram rightly described as 'pathetic'. Although even that seems generous.

However ahead of the game, the main spotlight has been turned on the state of the the quality of the pitch in its pop-up stadium in New York.

The surface, prepared over 1,000 miles away in Florida and transplanted just a month ago, was sluggish and unpredictable in its low-scoring opening fixture between South Africa and Sri Lanka before things took a turn for the worse.

The bounce was erratic throughout India’s win over Ireland, with Rohit Sharma retiring hurt after being hit by a Josh Little ball that leapt dramatically off a good length.

Former England head coach Andy Flower said conditions were “bordering on dangerous”, while Michael Vaughan branded it a “shocking pitch”.

Ground staff are currently “working hard” to make improvements but it could have a big impact on the match.

India are one of the tournament favourites, but in recent times they have got the heebie-jeebies whenever the word 'final' is mentioned. They have not won an ICC event since 2013 despite reaching four semi-finals and five finals since then. 

Despite that they are usually the kings of the group stage and we expect that to continue here, especially with Pakistan in turmoil after the USA defeat.

Virat Kohli, the format's highest ever runscorer, has been in red hot form in the IPL, finishing up as the leading run scorer with 713 runs at an average of 61.75. We'll ignore his solitary single against Ireland, as just a bad day at the office.

Kohli to be the top run scorer is a good shout and it's worth doubling up with Jasprit Bumrah in the wicket taking stakes.

Bumrah is one of the best, if not the best, bowlers in world cricket at the moment and has had another cracking IPL, taking 20 wickets at an average of 16.8 and an impressive economy of 6.48. 

Planet Sport Bet offer: Bet £10+ pre-match, Get a £5 Free Bet if any team scores more than 180 runs in the match that you bet on

Before the USA debacle, Pakistan hadn't been in great shape in their 2-0 T20 series defeat to England and are going through a rocky period of change, with new coach Gary Kirsten only having that series in charge before this World Cup. 

It's given Kirsten limited time to work with the side, which could hamper the 2022 finalists, but they still have plenty of individual quality through the likes of Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah. 

Babar has looked in good touch over the past couple of games at the top of the order, he scored 44 off 43 against the US.

But it's the Pakistan middle order doesn't look as good on paper and if Babar and fellow opener Rizwan depart early then they will be in trouble. Shadab Khan the only batter who gave USA a headache on Thursday with 40 off 25.

Afridi is one of the best opening bowlers on the planet and has given plenty of opening batsmen problems with his left-arm swing and he is a good shout for Pakistan's top wicket taker. 

Despite the talent of Babar, Rizwan and Afridi, the Indian team as a whole looks better on paper and we can see a comfortable win in the latest instalment of this rivalry.


Suggested bets

India to win

India top run scorer- Virat Kohli

India top wicket taker- Jasprit Bumrah

Pakistan top wicket taker- Shaheen Shah Afridi


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