Pakistan seeks to exploit Emirates advantage

By Tanuj Birua

A jolt of sensation creates a shock wave in the entire nation. The events could have revived the cricket economy by churning and inspiring the next generation to eye witness their superheroes in their native country. Suddenly that dream was taken away but has also dwindled their competitive preparation for the mega-events, as the nation stumbled from the shock yet you can feel an answering surge of fire lighting marched sure-footed at the emirates soil on a World T20 trail. Pakistan looks for surveillance and respect.

Pakistan has successfully cracked the T20 models to succeed in the United Arab Emirates. From September 2016 – 4th November 2018, Pakistan had played 11 games and undoubtedly won 11 of them. Pakistan had a consistent strategy to optimize the longer boundaries through their defensive batting in a measured deck. It had allowed them to even defend subpar totals on the back of excellent cooperation and execution from the bowlers. Current core group Shaheen Afridi with his left arm angles, Hassan Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, and Mohammed Hafeez averages under 19 and with the combined economic rate of 6.80. The execution had been top-notch by the bowling groups and their diversity varieties allow them to be subtle match up for Batman in these conditions.

Babar Azam the captain had been a revelation in the lineup, overs the years he had grown as a leader and thrived in limited role constraints, and later he has adapted his game towards high-risk rewards. It reflects in his development as one of the top batsmen in the last 4-5 years. The improved strokeplay and range hitting against high pace and spin has been delightful he shares a great compliment with Mohammad Rizwan who is equally a great player of pace at top order and he is known for his great mental strength. The movement later dwindles down to the dirty works of Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman  to act as an enforcer and take down the spinners in middle overs and Asif Ali match against raw pace, he strikes at a rate of  159 against pace

The game plan on paper looks systematic but on the contrary, the setup lies upon a foundation and heavy contribution from openers. Pakistan would like their openers to last long at even the cost of a lower strike rate and negotiate the pace in power plays.

Mohammad Rizwan had scored 752 runs, averaging 94 in T20 with a Strike rate of 140.03, and Babar Azam had scored 523 runs and averages around 37.35 with a strike rate of 132.74 with a sample size of 17 T20I matches. The system has been quite top-heavy. The inclusion of Haider Ali could make this setup quite dynamic in handling pace and spin but it could allow more freedom for openers to bat freely and act as a shield against raw pace. The role of enforcer and entry point will be quite pivotal for Pakistan and how they could use entry points of Fakhar Zaman and Hafeez could be vital but in greater hindsight, they know these conditions and what it takes to succeed in Emirati soil using variables and suitable matchups in favorable groups.


Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf


Possible XI

1. Babar Azam (C)
2. Mohammad Rizwan (WK)
3 Fakhar Zaman
4. Mohammad Hafeez.
5 Shoaib Malik/Haider Ali
6. Asif Ali
7. Shadab Khan
8. Imad Wasim
9. Hasan Ali
10. Haris Rauf
11. Shaheen Shah Afridi


Authors’ Views: In Group B there is no room for mistakes. Three teams are possibly seeking a place in the semi-finals and even one setback could turn out to be costly. Pakistan needs to turn up from the very first two games itself to cement and secure their slot in the semi-finals. Mohammad Hafeez has been Pakistan’s best player in UAE decks and he had closed many games in his provision, having averages of 70.50 and a strike rate of 129.95. He could be a key enforcer for Pakistan in the middle overs if openers lay their platform with an additional boost of bowling 4 overs. Pakistan could look threatening in these conditions. So I believe with many favorable Match up in the group standard expectation of foreseeing Pakistan in the next stage look at standard expectations for me.

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