PAK vs WI: 1st T20I, Preview: Pakistan look to dominate depleted visitors
The three-match series starts tomorrow in Lahore.
Updated - Mar 31, 2018 7:00 pm
Pakistan and the Windies have had contrasting fortunes in their erstwhile T20 International series’. Both were pitted against New Zealand in their home ground. While Pakistan brushed aside the Kiwis, the Windies struggled to make an impact, despite an abundance of power-hitters in their ranks. Both the teams will now faceoff in a three-match T20I series at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Pakistan are expected to start the series as clear favourites, being the top-ranked T20I team. Also, the Windies didn’t have a full-strength squad to pick, which somewhat shifts the balance in favour of the hosts. However, the visitors can take heart from the fact that they had an impressive outing in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe and would be hoping to stretch their impressive run of form.
The pitch in Lahore dished out a couple of intriguing contests in the PSL, which went right down to the wire. It is expected to be batting-friendly and both teams will want to get runs on the board. Meanwhile, the West Indian players are no pushovers and have the potential to turn the heat up.
Pakistan (Predicted XI)
Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan
Windies (Predicted XI)
Andre Fletcher, Chadwick Walton, Marlon Samuels, Jason Mohammed (capt), Denesh Ramdin (wkt), Rovman Powell, Rayad Emrit, Veerasammy Permaul, Kesrick Williams, Keemo Paul, Samuel Badree
Pakistan have a strong lineup at their disposal. Ahmed Shehzad and Fakhar Zaman are the likely openers. Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik’s calm and composed heads need to come to the fore in the middle order. Most importantly, skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed needs to deliver with the willow in order for Pakistan to rack up the big runs. Faheem Ashraf’s big-hitting abilities will also be required to propel the innings for the Men in Green.
Ashraf recently emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and is expected to play a crucial role in the opening game. Hasan Ali and Mohammad Amir are likely to share the new cherry. Usman Khan who started his international career against Sri Lanka might also get an opportunity. On traditionally slow tracks, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan will also have their tasks cut out.
Andre Fletcher and Chadwick Walton are most likely to open the batting. Marlon Samuels is one of their most experienced players and he needs to step up in order for the visitors to be effective. Jason Mohammed’s leadership skills also will be tested. Denesh Ramdin, being a seasoned campaigner, also needs to deliver. The Caribbean team will also pin hopes on Rovman Powell’s ability to clear the ropes; his contribution can give them a decisive edge in close matches.
Keemo Paul and Kesrick Williams are the likely opening bowlers. Rayad Emrit has been consistent in the Caribbean Premier League and will need to translate the form into the T20 series. Samuel Badree has been a veteran in this format and he is expected to be a vital cog in their bowling attack. Left-arm orthodox spinner Veerasammy Permaul might also be a part of the eleven.
Players to watch out for
Fakhar Zaman- Pakistan
Fakhar Zaman showed impressive touch for the Lahore Qalandars in the PSL having scored 277 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 147. He made his debut last year for Pakistan and has been a revelation at the top of the order. The hosts will be hoping for the left-handed batsman to give them blistering starts, opening the batting.
Samuel Badree- Windies
Badree has been one of the most sought-after bowlers across the globe, especially the T20 format. He has dished out immaculate line and lengths in the shortest format, and has been a fulcrum of whichever team he has represented. He has to bring forth his guile and trajectory if Pakistan are to topple the hosts.
Head to Head
Played- 11, Pakistan 8, Windies- 3, NR- 0
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6 – Pakistan won each of their last six T20I series. No other team won more than four bilateral T20I series in a row.