Pakistan v UAE Preview: Pakistan looking to start over
Updated - Feb 29, 2016 8:19 am
The successes of the recently concluded PSL have been wiped clear out of the minds of the Pakistan faithful. A crushing defeat against India saw the Pakistanis receive the most brutal of reality checks. UAE on the other hand, also has underperformed. While the bowling has been nothing short of world class, the batting has been a shambles. Although the nature of T20 cricket is unpredictable, Pakistan will be certain favorites.
The Mirpur wicket has been rather diabolical. The wicket that had a lush of grass on it now has grass in patches. The cracks on the surface due to fatigue have arisen due to the number of matches played over the last two months, including the U19 Cricket World Cup. The wicket has been difficult to decipher by most teams and an upset is always on the cards. Sri Lanka’s batting collapse on the barren strip. Nevertheless, the pitch resembles a Test match wicket on the fifth day and hopefully will even out in favor of the batsmen.
Team News & Analysis
It is no secret that Pakistan will be expected to pull off a comfortable win. Shahid Afridi seemingly missed the trick in the loss to India. While he failed to consider the Virat Kohli factor, he is accused of bowling out Mohammad Amir early. The latter made batting look impossible completed his four overs within the 10 over mark. The bowling combination of four seamers – Riaz, Amir, Irfan, and Sami seem to be near perfect while Mohammad Nawaz remains sidelined with an injury. Skipper Afridi and Shoaib Malik will be looking to contribute with their handy spinning prowess.
Pakistan however, will be much more worried about their batting. The loss to India saw the Pakistanis clearly missing a calm headed and experience within the side. Shoaib Malik, in particular, will be expected to fill that role. Malik boasts of massive T20 experience and is also a former captain. Waqar Younis will be hoping that his senior batsmen carry the burden.
The Emiratis have been surprisingly good with the ball. Mohammad Naveed has been a revelation with the new ball and hasn’t conceded over 6 an over the entire tournament. He has been well supported at the other end by skipper Ajmal Javed. Restricting the likes of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on a seaming track at Mirpur has been nothing short of extraordinary.
However, similar to Pakistan, the UAE batting has been horrific. Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Usman and many other have failed to replicate their performances from the qualifiers. To make matters worse, they face perhaps the best seam bowling attack in the tournament. Former Pakistan bowler and UAE coach has been quoted saying, “When we expect our players to do well, it’s frankly at the Associate level… Pakistan has a fast-bowling attack that can run a team down really quickly.”
Playing XI (Probable)
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Imad Wasim, Shahid Afridi (capt), Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan
UAE: Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Kaleem, Mohammad Shahzad, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammad Usman, Amjad Javed (capt), Swapnil Patil (wk), Saqlain Haider, Fahad Tariq, Mohammad Naveed, Ahmed Raza
Stats that matter
1. UAE and Pakistan are all set to square off for the first time in T20 International cricket. They have faced each other in ODIs previously.
2. The last time Pakistan played the UAE was in the 2015 World Cup at McLean Park, Napier. Pakistan won the encounter by 129 runs.
3. Shahid Afridi needs just three more sixes to make him the fourth highest six-hitter in T20Is. He is currently in 5th place with 66 sixes, behind David Warner (67) and Martin Guptill (68).