Deadlock severed and ties resumed, India and Pakistan will meet for their first bilateral series since 2007 in a two-match battle to decide, for the remainder of the year at least, the sub-continent's second-best T20I unit.

Neither side are even within touching distance of Sri Lanka at the helm of the rankings, but second and third positions are certainly there to be jostled for, with two star-studded packs ready to oblige.

For India, it's also the beginning stages of limited-overs life with Sachin Tendulkar, whose absence from the shortest format will soon also be felt in ODI cricket. For Pakistan, it's the opportunity to upstage - in India's backyard - an opposition they are yet to beat in T20I competition.

The one-on-one battles amid the war are intriguing, with anticipation brimming at the prospect of Virat Kohli versus Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul against Yuvraj Singh and more.

Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, is present with the chance to find his footing on a stage he has consistently slipped on this year - and the lanky Mohammad Irfan can redeem himself for an awkward international debut in 2010.

Four years the terrorist attacks in Mumbai cut relations between the staunch political rivals, Tuesday and Thursday will bring a sense of renewal and forgiveness. Cricket, indeed, is an appropriate medium to settle differences.

Key Men
The time is growing near for an Indian fast bowler to genuinely part himself from the rest in T20I cricket. On the back of successful ankle surgery and a promising Test series against England, Ishant Sharma must lead a relatively inexperienced seam attack through and through.

Unfortunate to miss out on World Twenty20 selection, left-arm seamer Junaid Khan will be eager to strut his stuff in Bangalore and beyond. The fast bowler is a fine exponent of lateral movement in adverse conditions, which will afford fellow strike bowler Umar Gul a superb complementary force.

Only Three Head-To-Head Results
2012: World Twenty20, group game: India won by eight wickets in Colombo
2007: World Twenty20, final: India won by five runs in Johannesburg
2007: World Twenty20, group game: Match tied in Durban

Prediction
Online betting firm Sky Bet have India at 2/1 and Pakistan at 11/4 in the odds to win the series. Visit Sky Bet for the latest cricket betting.

More cricket bets here.

Squads
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Parvinder Awana, Piyush Chawla, Ambati Rayudu.

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Asad Ali, Zulfiqar Babar, Ahmed Shehzad.

Fixtures
First T20I: Bangalore, 25 December
Second T20I: Ahmedabad, 28 December