Excitement is at an all-time high as arch-rivals India and Pakistan gear up for the marquee clash in their opening game of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 in Dubai on Sunday.
Both teams will open their campaigns in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup with what is billed to be a mouth-watering clash. After almost over two years, Virat Kohli and his team will face-off against Babar Azam-led Pakistan and rekindle the age-old rivalry.
Meanwhile, renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sand sculpture at Puri beach in Odisha ahead of the all-important match. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: "My Sand art on #IndvsPak @ICC #T20WorldCup match with message "Good luck" at Puri Beach in Odisha ,India."
Meanwhile, India captain Virat Kohli expects that the pitches for the T20 World Cup will be better compared to the ones that were on offer during the recently concluded IPL where stroke-making became difficult for batters.
The Indian captain, who also led RCB for the last time in IPL, had plied his trade on all tracks and feels that ICC will present them with better strips which actually was work on progress during the IPL.
Asked if he sees nature of tracks changing, the Indian captain agreed.
"I believe so. Looking at the IPL final, I believe that quality of pitches definitely is going to be far better in this T20 World Cup," Kohli said on the eve of the big game against Pakistan.
The normal rules for ICC events will also play its part in improved playing conditions. India will play four out of its five group league games in Dubai with the match against Afghanistan being held in Abu Dhabi.
"Also being an ICC tournament, we know that standard of pitches is going to be maintained up to a certain degree which is consistent across all venues.
"I knew that to protect the pitches for a tournament like World Cup, there had to be some compromise in playing conditions when we played the IPL. We all understood that and wicket in the IPL final (between CSK and KKR) was very very good," he explained.
Kohli also agreed that dew factor will be prominent as the tournament progresses.
"Dew factor will be prominent as we head into this time of the year in Dubai. That is also going to help the pitches play much better.
"I believe Abu Dhabi and Dubai are going to be best pitches out of all the venues. Sharjah more or less will stay more or less true to its nature, which is slow and low and I don't myself too many high scoring matches ....," Kohli concluded.
(With IANS and ANI inputs)