Do or die for India at Kolkata on Saturday in World T20

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Gaurav Joshi is ready with his binoculars to report on the Indo-Pak classic tomorrow on March 19, 2016

Nagpur is the centre of India, the temperature touches 40°C on most days, the ground is situated nearly 15km outside of city centre and the ICC chairman also hails from the city making it the centre piece of the cricketing world.

It was supposed to be the same on the opening match of the ICC World T20 between India and new Zealand but in matter of hours it became a distant blur and there were many negatives to come out of that game.

First was the quality of the pitch, which many former players and even current ones felt that it was not up to the ICC standard. The low scoring match meant many fans went home disappointed and irritated by the quality of the pitch.

“We came here to cheer fours and sixes hit. We know India cannot win each game but if we get a game full of runs where we cheer then it’s what we want”, said an agitated fan after the match.

But one city loss is another city’s gain. One team’s loss is also the tournament gain. Nagpur might have been disappointed but Kolkata is delighted to be hosting the blockbuster India – Pakistan match especially given that now it has virtually become a knockout match for India.

Saurav Ganguly, the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal who played an integral part in hosting the India – Pakistan match, is supposed to have reached out to movie stars such as Amitabh Bachchan to make the match livelier. Former cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar and Imran Khan are likely to attend to promote the rivalry between the neighbours.

With tickets based on ‘lucky draw’, fans have been asking family members and friends to register with different phone numbers to increase their chance of getting a ticket.

The ground will be packed to the capacity of 75,000. A loss could potentially see India bundled out of the World T20. Pressure is on. After all, with nine wins out of ten heading into the tournament, they had looked almost invincible last week.

Even for first half of their opening match against New Zealand, they looked unconquerable on a pitch tailor-made for their spinners. Now they seem vulnerable which for Team India and the tournament may not be a bad thing.

So bring on your drums and bugles, you avid Kolkata cricket fans!

 

(Gaurav Joshi is TIDU correspondent in India reporting exclusively on T20 World Cup Series)

 

 

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