Virat Kohli helped India survive a top-order collapse and beat Pakistan by six wickets in a tight game on Saturday to revive their World Twenty20 campaign and maintain their impeccable World Cup record against the arch-rivals.
Kohli's magnificent 55 not out was the difference between the sides in the rain-hit 18-overs-a-side match, coming under tremendous pressure on a prodigiously turning track at Eden Gardens.
Chasing 119 to secure their first win of the tournament, India slumped to 23-3 in the fifth over before Kohli and Yuvraj Singh (24) shared a match-high 61-run partnership to virtually take the game away from Pakistan.
Home captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed a six to level the scores and took a single to seal victory with 13 balls to spare as India bounced back from their shock opening defeat by New Zealand.
Kohli made batting look ridiculously easy on a difficult track, embellishing his unbeaten 37-ball knock with seven fours and a six, and he was the obvious choice for the man-of-the-match award.
Pakistan, put into bat, found the going difficult, especially against India's slow bowlers as they scored 118-5.
Openers Sharjeel Khan (17) and Ahmed Shehzad (25) were subdued by the Indian bowlers and Shahid Afridi could not justify his promotion to number three.
Shoaib Malik (26) and Umar Akmal (22) added 41 runs in four overs to take Pakistan past the 100-mark to ensure their pace-heavy attack had something to defend.
The match between the winners of the first two editions of the tournament was originally scheduled in the picturesque north Indian city of Dharamsala before Pakistan's security fears led to it being moved to Kolkata.
India propelled by a magnificent unbeaten half century from Virat Kohli (55) beat Pakistan by six wickets in the World T20 Super 10 clash at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Chasing a target of 119, India made 119-4 in 15.5 overs to win the 18-over match with more than two overs to spare.
Yuvraj (24) figured in a crucial 61-run stand for the fourth wicket with Kohli while Dhoni added 35 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket.
India extended their record against Pakistan in World Cup matches to 5-0 and recorded their first first over their arch rivals at Eden Gardens to bounce back from a shock defeat against New Zealand in the opener.
Kohli completes a sizzling 36-ball half century.
Riaz strikes a crucial blow as Yuvraj miscuing a pull shot. Ind 84-4, 12 overs.
Yuvraj Singh c Mohammad Sami b Wahab Riaz 24 (23b 1x4 1x6)
Kohli is turning the tide of the match sweeping Malik for a towering six over midwicket followed by a boundary to long-on. Ind 74-3, 11 overs.
Sami is on a hat-trick as he sends Raina's leg stump cartwheeling. Ind 23-3, 4.4 overs.
Suresh Raina b Sami 0 (1b)
Sami returns with a vengeance castling Dhawan who plays on. Ind 23-2, 4.3 overs.
Shikhar Dhawan b Sami 6 (15b 1x4)
Amir strikes in his second over as Rohit tries to go big only to slice it to point. Ind 14-1, 2.1 overs.
Rohit Sharma c Shoaib Malik b Mohammad Amir 10 (11b 2x4)
Rohit hits the first boundary of the innings punching Irfan over point and then pulling to backward square leg for another as India begin chasing 119. Ind 14-0, 2 overs.
Pakistan have been restricted to 118-5 in 18 overs after being put into bat on difficult pitch which saw the ball turning square.
After a cautious start by openers Sharjeel (17) and Shehzad (25), Akmal (22) and Malik (26) lifted the tempo.
Malik falls attempting to hoist Nehra out of the ground only to give a skier. Pak 105-5, 16.2 overs.
Shoaib Malik c Ashwin b Nehra 26 (16b 3x4 1x6)
Jadeja strikes having Akmal caught behind. Pak 101-4, 15.5 overs.
Umar Akmal c Dhoni b Jadeja 22 (16b 1x4 1x6)
Malik sizzles cracking Bumrah on either side of the wicket for two consecutive boundaries. Pak 95-3, 15 overs
Malik launches Pandya into orbit over midwicket for the first six of the match while Akmal also follows suit sending the ball sailing into the stands. Pak 82-3, 14 overs.
Afridi perishes trying to hit his way out in frustration holing out to long on. Pak 60-3, 11.5 overs.
Shahid Afridi c Kohli b Pandya 8 (14b 1x4)
Afridi top edges a short ball from Bumrah to the fine leg fence to bring up the 50 of the innings in the 10th over.
Jadeja strikes after being scooped for a boundary as Shehzad slices to point. Pak 46-2, 9.2 overs.
Ahmed Shehzad c Jadeja b Bumrah 25 (28b 3x4)
However, Pandya has hurt himself and goes off the field while Afridi surprises everyone by promoting himself at one drop. Pak 39-1, 8 overs.
Pandya takes a superb catch at long off as Sharjeel departs. Pak 38-1, 7.4 overs.
Sharjeel Khan c Pandya b Raina 17 (24b 2x4)
Shehzad improvises steering Jadeja to third man boundary with a delicate edge playing it late. Pak 34-0, 7 overs.
Sharjeel manages to find the gap on the off by cutting Bumrah at the end of the Powerplay. Pak 24-0, 5 overs.
Shehzad puts on his dancing shoes to hoist Ashwin to long-on for a boundary. Pak 19-0, 4 overs.
Sharjeel hits the first boundary of the match finally getting the middle of the bat to swing Nehra to square leg. Pak 12-0, 3 overs.
Tentative start by Pakistan with Ashwin getting bite and turn to put them on the back foot. Pak 4-0, 2 overs.
The national anthems are done and it's game on at Eden Gardens.
Dhoni has won the toss and India will opt to bowl first.
India are unchanged.
Pakistan have left out Imad Wasim for Sami.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra
Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan
It will be an 18 overs per side game with the toss scheduled to start at 7pm UAE time.
The toss has been delayed by half an hour because of a wet outfield though the covers are off after it stopped raining.
Any cricket match between India and Pakistan is akin to a heavyweight title fight but instead of engaging in a war of words, the two sides have been exchanging pleasantries.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi triggered a virtual tsunami on both sides of the divide by speaking of the “love” he receives from Indian fans upon his arrival in Kolkata.
“We have always enjoyed playing in India and have been loved by Indian crowds more than crowds back home in Pakistan,” he said.
“Cricket has always brought people together and I think politics should be kept away from cricket.”
A recent Facebook craze has seen thousands of fans posting profile pictures framed by the sporting emblems of their rivals.
India are also playing their role as good hosts to perfection after a row over security, saw Saturday's match being switched from Dharamsala to Kolkata, the capital of India before the sub-continent's 1947 partition that led to Pakistan's creation.
India's star batsman Virat Kohli has shown that there life beyond cricket by gifting comeback Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir one of his bats Friday, during a pre-match practice session at the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata.
The 23-year-old pacer has had to face stiff resistance from many quarters including his own teammates after serving a prison term and a five-year ban for spot-fixing in a Test match against England at Lord's in 2010.
Kohli, 27, has however openly welcomed Amir's return to the international fold.
"He is a very skilful bowler and I wish him all the best.He has worked hard to come this far and it takes a lot of courage," Kohli had said ahead of the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
Kohli, a firebrand batsman known to wear his heart on the sleeves, also appeared cheerful Friday while having an animated chat with Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi.
Is it the calm before the storm before they go hammer and tongs when play begins.
There will certainly be no love lost between India and Pakistan when the World T20 heavyweight showdown gets underway at Eden Gardens today.
Pakistan are poised to ruin India's party although they have never defeated India in a World Cup match.
However, pre-tournament favourites India are are smarting from a thumping defeat against New Zealand in their tournament opener.
A defeat against Pakistan on Saturday at the Eden Gardens will push India towards an early exit from the World Twenty20.
Pakistan, on the other hand, got off to a confident start in the tournament with a win against Asian rivals Bangladesh.
Coach Waqar Younis is confident his team can break the jinx against the hosts and feels it will be the best chance for Pakistan to end their poor record against their neighbours.
"They (Indians) have lost the last game, they must be worried that they can go out of the tournament, that's a huge worry when you are playing in your own country in such a huge tournament," Waqar told reporters.
"I am sure that they are feeling the heat. It is an added pressure on them, not on us. And in Kolkata, as I said, we have played really well in the past, and we have won the last game.
"I think that the monkey is off our backs now, so hopefully we will deliver the goods."
While India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin called a match between the two countries as a bigger contest than the traditional rivalry of the Ashes, which involves test matches between England and Australia, Waqar said the cricketers should be proud of the rivalry.
"I think first of all, you have take it as a sport," the former fast bowler added.
"Our rivalry is definitely there, there is a history between Pakistan and India, not only culturally but also there is a cricket history given how we have played each other for 50 years.
"No other game is watched as much as this one, so we should all cherish that and we should all feel proud about it."
Ashwin said India are well versed with handling pressure and have left behind the defeat against New Zealand.
"I don't think we really see a lot of pressure in this game. We are used to playing a lot of that for India," Ashwin said. "Every game that India plays is a pressure game as you can see with the amount of people here (at the news conference).
"A game like this... more than who we are playing against, it's the T20 World Cup and we have almost put ourselves in a position where we have to win every game from here.
"I think that's more important and pertinent."
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.
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