As India take on Pakistan at the World T20 at the Eden Gardens on Saturday, it will once again be the perfect setting for a big player to take centrestage. (India vs Pakistan World T20: Hosts Look For Turnaround Against Arch-Rivals)
While India lost their first game of the World T20 to New Zealand by 47 runs, Pakistan thrashed Bangladesh by 55 runs to start their campaign on a winning note.
India hold an upper hand in the ICC events as they have never been beaten by the arch-rivals. (T20 World Cup: India Can Bounce Back vs Pakistan, says Ravichandran Ashwin)
Here are the five key battles between the big stars that could decide the outcome of the epic clash at the Eden Gardens on Saturday. (India vs Pakistan World Twenty20: Hosts Hold Big Edge Over Arch-Rivals)
Virat Kohli vs Mohammad Amir
India's best batsman vs Pakistan's best bowler - as simple as that! This contest between arguably the best players in their respective skills could very well decide the final result of the match.
Amir tormented the Bangladeshi batsmen and will look to do the same against India. Kohli sparkled for a bit before throwing his wicket away against New Zealand.
A 'humble' Kohli had come out trumps against the Pakistan ace last time the two squared off in Bangladesh at the Asia Cup T20. And with a decent batting surface with more assist for spinners than pacers, Kohli will be the favourite to come out on top again.
Rohit Sharma vs Mohammad Irfan
Mohammad Irfan adds a whole new dimension to Pakistan's bowling unit. Together with Mohammad Amir, the duo have tormented the opposition in their recent games.
Rohit Sharma, however, is in the form of his life. Barring the flop show against New Zealand and Pakistan (in the Asia Cup) he has been the most consistent of the two Indian openers. Rohit's prowess against the short ball will certainly be a boon, when he comes up against Irfan.
How Rohit tackles Irfan and as well as Amir will be key to India's chances. After failing in India's defeat to New Zealand, the right-hander will be raring to put the record straight.
Shahid Afridi vs Yuvraj Singh
Shahid Afridi didn't bowl in Pakistan's Asia Cup match against India. But at Eden he was at his best against Bangladesh in Pakistan's World T20 opener. Afridi blasted 19-ball 49 and then followed it up with 2/27 to power Pakistan to a convincing 55-run win over Bangladesh.
His battle in the middle overs with Yuvraj will be monumental. Yuvraj, meanwhile, will be looking to set things right like most Indian batsmen after the New Zealand humiliation. But with Yuvraj's recent struggle against spinners, Afridi holds a slight edge in this battle.
Ahmed Shehzad vs Ashish Nehra
Shehzad made an explosive return to the squad, smashing a half-century against Bangladesh. However, he will be up against India's comeback man - Ashish Nehra. Nehra gave away 15 runs in the final over of the New Zealand innings, but bowled brilliantly upfront.
The left-arm pacer will play a huge role on deciding the fate of Pakistan's start. His swing could pose a few problems for Shehzad, who likes to go after the bowling and therefore can be a little rash. The Indian pacer has the guile and the experience to outfox Shehzad.
Mohammad Hafeez vs Ravichandran Ashwin
Pakistan's most stylish batman vs India's No. 1 T20 bowler. Hafeez is a technically sound player and had is a good player of spin. He is coming at the back of a brilliant half-century and will be key for Pakistan again.
Ashwin on the other hand, failed to turn up in Nagpur despite getting a wicket of his second ball. He went for 32 off his four overs and on a dream track for spinners, he was India's second most expensive bowler behind Hardik Pandya, who bowled just one over.
Hafeez's ability to handle spin will out him in good stead against Ashwin. But the Indian spinners' plethora of variations can be a challenge for any batsman in the world.