PAK v WXI, 3rd T20I Preview: A lot at stake for Pakistan as they prepare for the decider

PAK v WXI, 3rd T20I Preview: A lot at stake for Pakistan as they prepare for the decider

World XI winning the second game poises the series in a beautiful way and all we can expect on Friday is some dramatic, action packed sequence of events.

Pakistan
Pakistan. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s often difficult for a side to get back into work mode after losing a game which was in their grasp, Pakistan currently is in that state of mind. To describe the second T20I in a nutshell, the game was hanging in balance for a while, it then went completely into the hosts’ favor and in came Thisara Perera to pull off something outrageous.

After a reasonably one-sided first match, the second game proved to be a cliffhanger which kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Cricket proved to be the biggest winner on the day, but Pakistan would be desperate to embark this comeback with a series win which would send a fierce message to the rest of the International sides.

World XI bowlers have been struggling to find the right lengths and though they conceded 174 in the second match, the scoreboard could’ve easily read 190-200 if Sarfraz’s batsmen had not screwed up innumerable opportunities to score boundaries. Nevertheless, World XI winning the second game poises the series in a beautiful way and all we can expect on Friday is some dramatic, action packed sequence of events.

Toss: World XI won the toss and elected to bowl first

Faf du Plessis: We are going to have a bowl. It looks like a good wicket and our batting is the X-factor for us. Sammy comes back as well and that would help. If you look at the power hitting we have it is a big factor. I love to try and take wickets; keep thinking from the bowler’s perspective to take wickets.

Sarfraz Ahmed: We would try to bat first and put up a big one on the board. There was a problem with the execution in our earlier game and that was the issue. We shouldn’t set the target as 200 and need to assess the conditions and plan accordingly. We would look to start with 170 and take it from there. I have enjoyed playing out here and the crowds have supported us well. Let’s hope this one is organized just as well.

Playing XI

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed(w/c), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan, Rumman Raees

World XI: Tamim Iqbal, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis(c), George Bailey(w), David Miller, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Ben Cutting, Samuel Badree, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir

 

Focus will be on

Shoaib Malik (Pakistan)

The senior pro in the side, Shoaib Malik looked in devastating touch in both the games. Coming in at number 5, the 35-year-old made a huge difference in both the games, providing Pakistan a solid finish. His knock was the difference between the sides in the first game and was decent in the second one as well. All eyes will point towards the all-rounder without a shadow of a doubt as they expect some more fire works coming out of his willow.

Hashim Amla (World XI)

Hashim Amla doesn’t exactly terrorize the oppositions, he just nonchalantly puts them to bed. It was a remarkable knock coming from his bat in the previous game and Faf du Plessis would absolutely love another such master piece from his South African teammate. Considering a fact that he’s one of the best when it comes to facing fast bowlers, World XI need his services more than ever before to combat the on song Pakistan bowling contingent.

Playing combinations

Pakistan

Any change in the Pakistani line up will come in as a huge surprise. Fakhar Zaman and Ahmed Shehzad will take up the opening responsibility with Babar Azam coming in at 3. They have some clean hitters of the cricket ball like Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, and Imad Wasim, who add a lot of stability to the middle order.

Hassan Ali might feature again in the playing 11 and it’ll be the same bowling contingent for game 3 barring the one change. Rumman Raees has been decent thus far, same applies to Imad Wasim and Sohail Khan. They have great spinning options in Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz and if necessary, Shoaib Malik too can roll his arm over.

World XI

Amla and Tamim Iqbal are the only opening options in the unit, so there’s no one competing for their position. George Bailey might get a chance to squeeze into the middle order in place of David Miller. Tim Paine, Collingwood, and Thisara Perera are other players who will appear in the middle and they need a good, hefty contribution from them.

Imran Tahir and Samuel Badree can for a deadly wrist spinning duo and their presence is a huge bonus for skipper Du Plessis. Thisara Perera, Morne Morkel, and Ben Cutting are the fast bowling options, with Collingwood being the 6th bowler in the side.

StatAttack

10 – This will be the 10th T20I game hosted by the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.

2 – Imran Tahir needs two more wickets to overtake Dale Steyn as the 10th highest wicket taker in T20I history.