WI v PAK, 1st ODI, Preview: World Cup qualification at stake as Windies take on spirited Pakistan
The first ODI will be played at the Providence in the 3-match ODI series.
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The World Cup 2019 is a couple of years away but the build up to it has already started. The people often doubt the importance of a series like this, which is a three match ODI series stuffed between long T20I and Test series. However, both teams Pakistan and West Indies are very much aware about the long term benefit of this year.
The latest decision by the ICC to reduce the number of direct participating team in the World Cup from 10 to 8 is something that has been bothering the low ranked sides. Hence, the team that manages to win here in this series will strengthen their claims for the mega tournament. Considering the recent form, both teams have largely struggled. The West Indies side were badly beaten and whitewashed 0-3 by the touring English side recently.
On the other hand, Pakistan had no different experience either. They were drubbed severely in the Australian series down under. However, their most recent 3-1 win over the Windies in the T20I series will be something that will keep their spirits high. They will surely walk in as the favorites in the match owing to their confident line up as against an inconsistent West Indies side.
Focus will be on
Young talented leg spinner Shadab Khan was the find of the T20I series. He scalped 3/7 on his T20I debut and then backed it up with another 4 wicket haul. The 18 year old has been the standout performer for the visitors on the tour thus far. Now, with Shadab in line to be making his ODI debut, he will have a lot of eyeballs glued to him. Considering his recent form, expect him to rule the roost in the match and being drafted straight in the playing eleven.
The onus shifts from one leggie to another. Bishoo has been the seniormost spinner in the West Indies lineup in the recent past. However, his recent performances have not been up to the mark. He will have to take more responsibility for the side being the most experienced bowler in the line up. He was very disappointing in the home series against England where all that he could manage was to pick 3 wickets in 3 matches.
Jason Mohammed was the find of the series for West Indies in the disappointing home fixtures against England. He was the only batsman who showed resistance against the English bowling and hence has already made a reputation of his own in the short career thus far. He might well be promoted up the order considering his recent run of form that has been quite exceptional and more importantly, consistent.
Team Combination – West Indies
West Indies squad has a lot to ponder about their combinations. They have a few changes in their line up from the squad that played the T20I series. Players like Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite and Samuel Badree have all been released from the squad. Chadwick Walton will continue to open the innings with in-form batsman Evin Lewis. Hard hitting batsman Kieran Powell is yet to impress after his comeback to the national side.
However, he will continue to feature in the line up. Jason Mohammed looks set at number 5 but might get a promotion to number 4 as well. Captain Jason Holder provides stability in the lower order but has not been in the best of forms in the recent times. The pace brigade boasts of talented pacers like Shannon Gabriel, Miguel Cummins and Alzarri Joseph. Whether Jerome Taylor gets a place in the line up or not remains to be seen.
Team Combination – Pakistan
Pakistan have a problem of plenty at the moment. However, they have done well in the aspect that they have stuck to a predominantly the same squad that played in the T20Is. They have three rookies uncapped players in the line up who will be in line to make their debuts. Asif Zakir, Fahim Ashrad and Mohammad Asghar are the three players trying to fight for a place in the line up.
However, it is very unikely that they will get a chance in the first fixture. Shadab Khan is almost certain to make his ODI debut after stellar show in the shortest format of the game. The pace brigade for the visitors look very solid as well with Mohammad Amit, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz all looking in good form. Imad Wasim will be another key all-rounder who might get a promotion in the batting lineup.
West Indies Probable XI:
Evin Lewis, Chadwick Walton, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Jason Mohammed, Jonathan Carter, Jason Holder (c), Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel.
Pakistan Probable XI:
Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz.
7 – Number of wickets Shahid Afridi took at the venue when Pakistanis played Windies in 2013. He had figures of 7/12.
1 – Number of times a score in excess of 300 has been scored at the Providence venue. Sri Lanka scored 303 during the World Cup 2007 against West Indies.
5 – West Indies have lost all their last 5 ODIs.