Wahab Riaz picks his four semi-finalists for ICC World Cup 2019
Pakistan will play a couple of warm-up games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Bristol and Cardiff on May 24 and 26, respectively.
Updated - May 18, 2019 3:53 pm
The cricketing world still remembers him for his lion-hearted show against Australia in the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup in Adelaide. Though Pakistan had lost the game, Wahab Riaz’s bowling, particularly against Shane Watson, remains an evergreen performance. The 33-year-old bowler is not there in the upcoming World Cup but he is closely watching the developments in the run-up to the mega event kicking off May 30.
Riaz has a firm belief that Pakistan, who won their only World Cup in 1992, are favourites to win their second title this year. And the bowler has his conviction despite the Men in Green’s ordinary performance of late. They were beaten 2-3 by South Africa; 0-5 by Australia and now have squandered the ongoing ODI series against England and trail 0-3 with one match to go.
But, Riaz is still seeking confidence from Pakistan’s performance in the Champions Trophy won in England in 2017. He was also part of the squad that lifted the trophy defeating arch-rivals India in the final comprehensively.
Riaz expecting better results from Pakistan
“My favourite team is Pakistan, obviously. [I] would love to see Pakistan win. We have a good team and I am expecting better results from them,” Riaz was quoted as saying by Geo.tv.
Riaz also took three other sides as his favourites to make the semi-finals and they are two-time champions India, hosts England and defending champions Australia.
“I think other than Pakistan, India, England, and Australia are teams that can make it to final four of the tournament,” he said.
The last and only time these four teams had made the semi-finals of a World Cup was in 1987 when the tournament was played in India and Pakistan.
Pakistan will play a couple of warm-up games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Bristol and Cardiff on May 24 and 26, respectively. They will launch their campaign in the mega tournament on May 31 when they will take on old rivals West Indies.
Pakistan will be disappointed to have lost the series against England despite their batting clicking in all the games. But their bowling has been a big let-down that compelled them to bring back Mohammad Amir in the side.