India-Pakistan showdowns usually draw hundreds of millions of television viewers, making it the biggest box office attraction in the sport. But diplomatic tensions have meant that the two teams have not played any bilateral series for more than three years and their rivalry is therefore restricted to multi-national tournaments.
Pakistan, furious that India has rebuffed repeated pleas to play a bilateral series at a neutral venue, will be desperate to cause an upset against their giant neighbor. Although India are likely to give most of their players a work-out in the build-up to the World T20, team director Ravi Shastri made clear they would not be taking their foot off the gas.
India are set to be without Dhoni for the Bangladesh opener after the skipper suffered a back spasm during a practice session on Monday.
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But former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar acknowledged India would nevertheless start as tournament favorites after their recent successes. Also they now play Twenty20 cricket more than anyone else.
Pakistan, who will become the first side to play Twenty20 internationals during the tournament on February 29, will arrive late in Dhaka after the finale of the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League. Bangladesh will hope home advantage will help them build confidence before heading to India for the World T20 qualifying round from March The Tigers had a dream run in in one-day internationals, but when it comes to over cricket they are still ranked among the minnows.
If we do that, it would be great, but at the end of the day we just want to win the Premier League.
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