India captain Rohit Sharma has won the toss and elected to bowl first against Pakistan in their first match of Super 12 in the Men's T20 World Cup at a sell-out Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
In head-to-head encounters in T20Is, India lead Pakistan 8-3, including their bowl-out victory in the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa. Interestingly, the last six T20Is between these two teams have been won by the chasing side, with India winning four times and Pakistan twice.
"Looks like a good pitch, it's always nice with overcast conditions. Think the ball will swing around a bit. Preparations have been good. We played a couple of practice games in Brisbane. Time to come out and enjoy ourselves."
"We were expecting nothing less than this (packed crowd), hopefully we'll entertain them. We have seven batters, three seamers and two spinners," said Sharma after winning the toss.
In India's playing eleven, pacer Mohammed Shami and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin have been included alongside senior right-arm pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, left-arm fast bowler Arshdeep Singh and left-arm spinner Axar Patel, ahead of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and pacer Harshal Patel.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam admitted that he would have liked to bowl first if he had won the toss. "We'll try to post around 160-170. We have prepared well, and we are ready for this big game. We had a T20 series back home (against England), we played a tri-series in New Zealand, so we are prepared. We have three fast bowlers and two spinners."
In Pakistan's playing eleven, left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi is back after recovering from a right-knee injury and will lead the bowling attack alongside fellow quicks Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah with left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz and leg-spinner Shadab Khan helming charge in the spin department.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper), Shan Masood, Haider Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah.