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Pakistan v World XI, 3rd T20: World XI Predicted XI

The 3-match series is currently poised at 1-1, thus making the last game to be looked forward to with much excitement.

World XI cricketers
World XI cricketers celebrate. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Cricket has returned to Pakistan and in style. With the World XI tour having reached its final game, the fans will be hoping for a stellar display of cricketing action from both the sides. The first two games were excellent, competitive games of cricket, with both sides bringing their A-game to the fore. While Pakistan dominated the first T20I and won comfortably by 20 runs, the second T20 presented the spectators with a nail-biting finish. The 3-match series is currently poised at 1-1, thus making the last game to be looked forward to with much excitement.

The World XI side came with a pledge to restore cricket in Pakistan and they’ve not disappointed. Although they lost the first encounter, owing primarily to Babar Azam’s swashbuckling 86 in the first innings, followed by some lethal bowling by the young Pakistan players, the second T20 was evenly contested. Having restricted the hosts to a manageable total of 174, the match was down to the wire with the Faf du Plessis-led side needing 6 runs off the last 2 balls. It was Perera, who pulled off an MS Dhoni and sealed the match with a mammoth 6 off the penultimate delivery.

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This victory not only kept the series alive but gave the cricket lovers at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore a chance to behold the breathtaking fireworks of the limited-overs format that they’d been deprived of for so many years. The final game has the fate of the series riding on it and is all set to be another nail-biter. Both sides need to construct their sides carefully, in order to be able to lay their hands on the winner’s trophy of the Independence Cup. Let us take a look at the Predicted XI for Faf du Plessis’ side:

Openers (Tamim Iqbal and Hashim Amla)

Bangladesh batsman, Tamim Iqbal can be expected to open the innings for the third time in the series. Though he’s not racked up big scores in the last two games, his 23 runs off’ 19 balls in the last game is proof enough of what he’s capable of. He will be looking to make his mark in the last and final T20I.

The player for the slot of the second opener needs no guesses. The Protean batting genius, Hashim Amla has once again proved his mettle as a batsman and that his skill is not limited to a particular format of the game. His innings of 72 runs, off just 55 balls in the second match at Lahore was a treat to watch and fans will be eager to witness his brilliant batting to light up the stadium yet again.

Middle order (Tim Paine, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Paul Collingwood)

Wicketkeeper-batsman, Tim Paine is most likely to come in at position 3. He would be hoping to contribute more with the bat than the previous two innings, where he managed a run-a-ball 25 in the first T20, followed by a short inning of 10 runs. Notably, he picked up the wicket of Pakistan skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed in the first match off Perera’s bowling.

At No.4, skipper Faf du Plessis is expected to make his way to the crease. Du Plessis has been marshalling his troops extremely well and will only look to augment his team’s total with his usual batting firepower. The Protean batsman has quite the reputation as a T20 player and his time in the Indian Premier League (IPL) comprising 1295 runs in 53 matches, has only strengthened his bat wielding skills.

Next up, David Miller is another feisty T20 batsman from South Africa. Although he didn’t get a chance to bat in the second T20, given his batting reputation, he’ll be itching to smash a few boundaries in his typical flamboyance. He’s often considered a T20 specialist and is affirmed with more than 5,000 runs in his kitty in the format. It’ll be crucial for Miller to perform if the middle order is exposed to the cutting-edge bowling of Pakistan.

Paul Collingwood’s return from retirement to take part in the Independence Cup has been music to the ears of cricket enthusiasts. Known for being an out and out team man, Collingwood had been equally prolific in all formats of cricket. He has 583 runs in 36 T20Is at a strike rate 127.02. He’s yet to don his batting attire in the entire series and the final match will be the perfect platform for him to script his comeback ode to the game.

All-rounders (Thisara Perera and Ben Cutting)

The Sri Lankan all-rounder thrives in sub-continent conditions. Perera was awarded the Man of the Match in the 2nd T20 against Pakistan for his fast-paced knock of 47 runs off 19 deliveries, along with the 2 wickets he picked up at an economy of 7.67. In the post-match presentation ceremony, he related that he was privileged to have been chosen into the World XI side and acknowledged to “play similarly in situations’ for his national team and that is has “become a habit now (finishing off games)”.

Ben Cutting, on his part, has picked up a wicket apiece in both the matches. He’ll be looking to play his role of the second all-rounder in the team to perfection as the Queenslander is famed for his power-hitting as well as his useful fast-medium pace bowling.

Bowlers (Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, and Samuel Badree)

The bowling trio for the World XI side has worked wonders for the team and is probably one area they’d like to keep unchanged. Although the bowling attack fell short in terms of restricting Pakistan for a small score, all the 3 bowlers amped it up in the second T20I. Protean pace spearhead, Morne Morkel is expected to shoulder the pace department of the team single-handedly. The towering fast bowler has bowled at the best economy rates of 8.00 and 5.00 in the two matches and will be looking to clip more bails off in the ultimate match of the series.

The spin duo of Imran Tahir from South Africa and Samuel Badree from Windies is as lethal as it can possibly get. While Tahir has scalped 2 wickets in his two matches, Badree has picked up 2 in the second T20. Tahir is arguably one of the best spinners that the game currently has and his figures of 57 wickets in 35 T20Is at an astonishing average of 15.4 speaks volumes about the man’s calibre. He has similar figures, having scalped 5 wickets in 41 T20Is at an economy of just 5.72. The two will look to team up and  attack from both ends in order to tip the scales in the favour of their side.

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