Kolkata, March 17: India's humiliating loss against New Zealand in the World T20 opener at Nagpur has just taken away the psychological advantage of Men In Blue and their chances of a better show in the upcoming game against Pakistan.
As the Eden Gardens is ready to host the high-voltage ICC World Twenty20 contest between India and Pakistan on Saturday (March 19), former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar feels Pakistan are the favourites in the marquee match and not the hosts.
India, who were the overwhelming favourites to win the title before the start of the mega event, were humbled by New Zealand in their opening match while Pakistan pummelled Bangladesh in their opener.
"After the loss to New Zealand, India will be under far more pressure against Pakistan. I feel Pakistan start as favourites for the game on Saturday," Gavaskar told NDTV.
Gavaskar said the highly awaited match will be about Indian batting versus Pakistan bowling as usual.
"It is still pretty much Indian batting versus Pakistan bowling. However, with the way Indian bowlers have performed recently, they also won't be easy to tackle either. Ashwin [Ravichandran] is bowling well and so is Nehra [Ashish], ever since he has made a comeback. Then you have Jasprit Bumrah. So it will be a test for Pakistani batsman.
"Having said that, it only takes an over and half to turn the game around in T20," said the former India captain.
Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir posed problems for India in Asia Cup and Gavaskar hopes the Indian batsmen have learnt how to face him early on.
"Hopefully Rohit Sharma and others know that unlike many other left arm pacers, Amir has the ability to swing the ball back. Rohit and Rahane were found wanting against him in Asia Cup. So they have to careful for the first couple of overs and once you are set, there is always an opportunity to score," he added.
For the record, India have never lost to Pakistan in a world event while Pakistan have never lost to the hosts at the iconic Eden Gardens.