KOLKATA - A resurgent Pakistan will look to ruin Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India party, who will be looking to bounce back from their shock opening defeat in today's World Twenty20 blockbuster at Eden Gardens.

It's one of the world's fiercest sporting rivalries and previous showdowns have taken place while the countries have been at war, or used as an icebreaker between frosty leaders.

But when Pakistan and face off in cricket's World Twenty20, love will be in the air amid a determination to ensure Saturday's game soothes rather than stokes tensions.

Red-hot favourites India were stunned by an unfancied New Zealand on Tuesday when they were shot out for 79 in Nagpur -- their lowest score on home turf in T20 internationals. But India's limited-overs skipper has full faith in his side that came into the tournament on the back of 10 wins in 11 T20 matches, including victory in the Asia Cup. "What's important is how to turn around and how to come back strong and I think this team has done this plenty of times," Dhoni said after the New Zealand loss.

After their stumbles in Nagpur, India's frontline batsmen Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli will have to find their feet against a hostile Pakistan pace attack which includes the in-form Mohammad Amir. The Pakistani paceman, on the comeback trail after serving a prison sentence and a five-year ban for spot-fixing, ended with impressive figures of 2-27 in his team's victorious opener against Bangladesh. Although India registered a commanding victory over Pakistan in last month's Asia Cup, their batsmen were far from comfortable against Amir, with Kohli congratulating him for "an amazing" spell of bowling.

While the pitch in Nagpur turned dramatically, Eden Gardens is seen as offering more bounce and Dhoni could well be tempted to play a fit-again Mohammed Shami on what is be the speedster's home ground. Pakistan had come into the tournament in woeful form and their preparations were not helped by a row over security which led to the match being switched from Dharamsala to Kolkata.

But their trouncing of Bangladesh has banished the gloom, with skipper Shahid Afridi leading from the front by spanking a 19-ball 49 and then bagging two key wickets in the 55-run win. Afridi said the result was a "morale booster" ahead of the clash between the South Asian titans who are both former World T20 champions.

But he downplayed the significance of India's opening match upset. "They have been playing good cricket though they lost their last game," said Afridi.

The leading classical singer Shafqat Amanat Ali is set to serenade a packed house at Edens Gardens with Pakistan's national anthem, before Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan belts out the rival Indian number. Tensions have prevented the two sides from playing each other in Tests for more than a decade, and the match is only happening because the World T20 is an International Cricket Council tournament.

After a row over security, Saturday's match was switched from Dharamsala to Kolkata, the capital of India before the sub-continent's 1947 partition that led to Pakistan's creation. Eden Gardens is one of the world's biggest grounds, even after a recent refit which reduced capacity to 66,000.

Despite the cauldron-like atmosphere, its fans have a reputation for showing appreciation to opposing players.

Subrata Nag, a college student, said the home crowd wanted an Indian victory but would be gracious in defeat. "Eden Gardens has a history of supporting the team which performs better. We want India to win, but we will support Pakistan team if it plays well," Nag told AFP.

The match is expected to be watched by hundreds of millions of television viewers, including in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir where many residents will be rooting for Pakistan. "On Friday, I will go to Jamia Masjid (the grand mosque) and pray for my team's victory over India," said Bashir Ahmed, a shopkeeper in the city of Srinigar. "On Saturday, I will see my prayers answered, inshallah."


India (from): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Pawan Negi, Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh

Pakistan (from): Shahid Afridi (captain), Anwar Ali, Imad Wasim, Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Sami, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Sharjeel Khan, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz