Always in with a chance
|Matches: 34 Won: 19 Lost: 14 Tied: 1 No Result: 0|
Unpredictability is the word that has always been synonymous with the Pakistan cricket team so it makes sense that fans and experts alike have wildly different assumptions about how deep the Babar Azam-led side can go in the tournament. One thing that is for certain is that this team cannot be written off at any stage. They begin their T20 World Cup campaign against arch-rivals India on October 24 in Dubai, promising a mouth-watering contest between two sides that only meet in ICC events. Pakistan have been in tremendous form since the last edition of the T20 World Cup in 2016. Since then, they played 33 games till the end of 2018 and won 29. Interestingly, during most of those wins, Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was only added to their squad for this World Cup at the last moment, captained the side. However, the team's form over the past two years has dipped a bit, winning only 17 of the 38 played -- most under the leadership of current captain Babar. Pakistan's preparation for the World Cup was also hampered as home series against New Zealand and England were cancelled over security concerns. Having said that, one thing that could play in Pakistan's favour is that they have good experience of playing in the UAE, which was their home ground from 2009-2018.
Pakistan's batting, especially their top order, is what sets them apart. The opening duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan has been the best for Pakistan in their T20 history, averaging 52 in 10 innings together. They were also responsible for a 197-run opening stand -- Pakistan's highest opening stand and the fourth-highest opening stand overall in the format -- against South Africa in April this year. Babar is currently second in the ICC T20 batsmen's rankings while Rizwan is seventh.
Pakistan's spin-bowling department is led by leg-spinner Shadab Khan. But with the likes of all-rounders Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez and Mohammad Nawaz the other spin-bowling options, it can be said the side has fallen short of forming a quality spin attack, which could be crucial in the UAE, where pitches are expected to be slow.
THE SUDDEN SHIFT IN LEADERSHIP
On the same day that Pakistan confirmed their World Cup squad, head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis resigned from their respective posts after two years in the job. Such management issues might hinder the confidence and the team environment.
SURPRISE INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah, who last played a T20I for Pakistan earlier this year against Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively, were the two surprise inclusions in the squad for the World Cup.
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood
Usman Qadir, Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani