Former women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj wants a blockbuster India-Pakistan T20 World Cup final but said for that to happen Rohit Sharma’s men will have to dish out their ‘A-game’ to get the better of England in the semifinal in Adelaide on Thursday.
Pakistan outclassed last edition’s runners-up New Zealand by seven wickets to book their place in the T20 World Cup final for the third time. If India manage to beat England, they will set up a mouth-watering title clash against arch-rivals Pakistan after 15 years. India and Pakistan played in a T20 World Cup final in the tournament’s inaugural edition in 2007 where the former emerged triumphant.
“Sure, it (India-Pakistan final) will (happen). Now that Pakistan has qualified for the final, India will be at their best,” Mithali said on Star Sports show ‘Cricket Live’. “They (India) have to be at their A-game tomorrow if they have to beat England. And it’s a ground that India has done well. So, if the wicket is very similar to what we got to see today, then it will definitely go in favour of India.”
The talismanic woman cricketer believes that in-form Virat Kohli will be key to India’s success against England.
“I think more than everybody, he (Kohli) will put that expectation on himself to score runs in the semifinals when India needs him the most. Of course, he’s done very well in the deep phase against Pakistan and has been consistent throughout the tournament.
“He would want to continue that form in semifinals. To reach final, it’s important that he scores runs. He needs to continue to follow his routine and not change too much, because his expectations are there. There will be pressure (but) I’m sure as a player he knows how to absorb that and stand and deliver.” Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh expects India captain Rohit Sharma to come out of his lean patch against England.
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“I think this will create an opportunity for him (Rohit) to show his mettle. What we saw today with what Babar (Azam) and (Mohammad) Rizwan did, big players in big games, they go on to perform and Rohit is a big, big player and we all want him to score runs. “When he scores runs, it feels like he’s batting on a different surface, no matter how difficult that surface is. We all want him to come into form. Tomorrow might be his day and when his day comes, India are going to win,” he said.
Rishabh Pant is likely to don the gloves on Thursday, but Harbhajan says he will prefer Dinesh Karthik over the left-hander. “I have no choice. I would go with Rahul Dravid, because he likes Rishabh Pant but I would like Dinesh Karthik who was playing earlier. Yes, it’s so tough to bat at that number, not many could do what Dhoni and Yuvraj did and you’re comparing DK with those players, who have been champions of the game.
“And yes, DK is a great, great player who has done well to get to this level. I think he should be a given a go. But yes they also want to have another left-hander in the team,” he signed off.