MUMBAI: India have been far more formidable than Pakistan over the last 15 years and they may not need more than 130 to defeat their arch-rivals in the Asia Cup T20 tonight, said the legendary Kapil Dev.
India will meet Pakistan for the first time since their comprehensive victory over them at the Adelaide Oval the 2015 World Cup in Mirpur today. While India’s batting might is no secret anymore, Pakistan are talking up their bowling strength, especially with the return of Mohammad Amir.
However, Kapil, who was himself a part of some epic battles against Pakistan, said they are not a major threat anymore and added that Pakistan are a declining force in international cricket.
“India are a far better T20 team than Pakistan even though they have a good bowling attack. Pakistan were good in 1980’s but in last 15 years, India have been too good in all formats,” Kapil said in an exclusive interview.
India have won six of their seven T20s this year and have won five of their six T20s against Pakistan since 2007.
Kapil agreed with Waqar Younis that Pakistan might have an advantage as India are not very familiar with some of their new players. However, the former India skipper said that the inexperience in the Pakistani ranks could be their downfall.
“True, but you need experience to take team out of a difficult situation. At that point it will be difficult for them under pressure,” said Kapil.
Kapil said Indian batsmen needed to be careful against Pakistan’s pacers if the pitch offered some assistance to them. In the opening encounter against Bangladesh, India lost early wickets on a green pitch. But the World Cup winning skipper said India would not have to bother with a big score given Pakistan’s fragile batting line-up.
“If they (Pakistan pacers) get a good wicket to bowl on, if there is bounce, India need to play them carefully. Looking at their batting, maybe you don’t need a total of 160 or 170 against them then… 130 would be fine.”
Kapil felt Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, who has been through a lean patch, could turn out to be the deciding factor between the two teams.
“Afridi is a dangerous player if he does justice to his talent.. He can turn the match around on his own but it depends on him and his confidence level,” he said.
The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya have never played against Pakistan before but Kapil had a simple message for the young players.
“I would advise them to not think much about the match. just like those Pakistan players playing for the first time against India. The atmosphere in the team is more important. If the team is feeling pressure, then the youngster will also feel the pressure. If the team is relaxed, then the youngsters will also feel better,” said Kapil.