‘Everyone would love to see Pakistan-India final’
The prospect of a mouth-watering final between India and Pakistan at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup has everyone excited, according to Australia great Shane Watson.
India and Pakistan successfully navigated different paths to the final four on a highly-fluctuating final day of Super 12 action on Sunday and now could be on track to meet in the T20 World Cup final if they each win their difficult semi-final match-ups.
Rohit Sharma's side takes on England in Adelaide on Thursday in a battle between the top two teams on the T20I Team Rankings, while Pakistan will have to conquer in-form New Zealand at the SCG on Wednesday if they are to reach the title decider.
Pakistan's chances of even reaching the semi-finals looked forlorn at the start of the day on Sunday, but the Netherlands' upset victory over South Africa provided Babar Azam's side the opportunity to clinch an unlikely semi-final berth.
A hard-fought five-wicket victory over Bangladesh helped Pakistan clinch the last spot in the semis and Watson believes the chances of a rematch of their meeting at the MCG at the start of the tournament and a dream final between the two biggest rivals in cricket now looms as a strong possibility.
"Everyone would love to see Pakistan and India in the final," an excited Watson said at the SCG on Monday.
"I unfortunately missed that first (Super 12) game at the MCG, as I commentated the game previously between Australia and New Zealand.
"But from all reports, all the people that went along to that game said it was something very special and the game was obviously an amazing game to watch on TV as well.
"They played in the T20 World Cup final in 2007 and everyone would love to see it again."
Standing in Pakistan's way first and foremost is a battle against Kane Williamson's New Zealand and Watson is expecting the battle between the Kiwis' dynamic young opener Finn Allen and Pakistan's bevy of quality fast bowlers to have a major say in the outcome of the cut-throat clash.
But Watson believes the fact Pakistan had all but given up on earning a spot in the semi-finals prior to Sunday's games may actually work in their favour as it will allow them to play with more freedom.
"There are certain times in all tournaments where a team just falls across the line and somehow finds its way into the finals and then goes on to win it," Watson noted.
"Especially when they weren't expecting to make the semis because of the way they played at certain times throughout this tournament.
"The freedom they are going to have after not expecting much in the middle of the tournament, so the freedom they are going to have is going to be very dangerous for the Kiwis."