Team India will lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24 to begin their campaign in the upcoming T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. The International Cricket Council on Tuesday announced the fixture of the mega event, putting India, Pakistan and New Zealand in Group 2, along with two other teams – first-placed Round 1 qualifier from Group B and second-placed Round 1 qualifier from Group A.

Meanwhile, former India opener Gautam Gambhir spoke about the importance of the summit clash between the two teams. While speaking on Star Sports show Game Plan, the former cricketer opined that playing Pakistan early in the tournament will help the Indian team focus on the remaining tournament.

“In 2007 as well, when we went out to win the World Cup, our first game was against Scotland, which was washed out, but then practically, our first game was against Pakistan.

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And that is exactly what I mentioned it is important to play Pakistan in the early stages of the tournament because what happens is — you don’t want to keep thinking about Pakistan — you can finish it off initially and concentrate on the entire tournament, and it is exactly the same for the fans and the country as well,” Gambhir told Star Sports.

“Irrespective of what the result is, I am really happy for both the countries that they are going to play against each other in the initial stages,” he added.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE and Oman will get underway from October 17, with the final to be played in Dubai on November 14. The tournament will begin with the Round 1 Group B encounter between hosts Oman and Papua New Guinea on October 17, with Scotland and Bangladesh, the other teams in Group B, clashing in the evening match.

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Ireland, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and Namibia — making up Group A — will be in action in Abu Dhabi the next day, with Round 1 matches running till October 22. The top two teams in each group will proceed to the Super 12 stage of the tournament, beginning on October 23.

(With ANI Inputs)

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