Rejuvenated Pakistan lock horns against T20 World Champions West Indies at Dubai in 1ST T20 game
Hosts Pakistan recently came back from a successful tour of England, which they capped off on a positive note by winning the one-off T20 at Manchester in comprehensive fashion. Pakistan were outplayed by England in the one-day series but a change in the leadership saw Sarfaraz Ahmad lead a spirited fight-back, with the men in green putting on a clinical display in the last game to end the tour on a much-needed high.
Pakistan is led by in-form batsman and wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmad who would look to continue the winning trend against West Indies in the UAE.The likes of Khalid Latif coming good in the last T20 is a good sign for the side, that had before failed to cash in the early overs of the innings in previous T20 games played in the last one year or so. The likes of Saad Nasim and all-rounder Rumman Raees have been added to bolster the strength of squad.
Sharjeel Khan has been in scintillating touch with the bat since the WorldT20 while Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan need to put in good performances to cement their places in the lineup. The bowling lineup is well settled with Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali performing consistently for the side. The spin duo of Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz would be more than handful on the surfaces in UAE against World T20 Champions West Indies.
West Indies have been impressive in this format as they trumped India in the semis and England in the finals of WorldT20 to become World Champions for the second time after their first triumph in Sri Lanka in 2012. The side will be without of the services of usual superstars like Chris Gayle, André Russell, Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy. Carlos Brathwaite is the new captain of the side after Sammy was removed from the side citing poor personal performance. The spin duo of Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine are potent in conditions which aid the spinners with Kieron Pollard and Carlos Brathwaite providing variations of pace to outfox the opposition batsmen.
Key players for the game
Evin Lewis and Johnson Charles will be the players to watch out for West Indies against Pakistan as the last game against India saw them pile a mammoth 240-plus score at Lauderhill in Florida. Charles as an opener has been in terrific touch as also witnessed recently in the Caribbean Premier League and another game against India. He has now started to show more consistency while Lewis is an emerging talent who also made his mark recently with a belligerent ton against India.
The pitch at Dubai is always good surface as it is good for stoke play for batsmen and does aid spinners later on in the game. The last two games saw Pakistan lose both the games against England as the visitors went to the win the series. The forecast for the game will be good with no sign of rain at all in this time of year.
West Indies: 1.Evin Lewis 2.Johnson Charles 3.Marlon Samuels 4.Andre Fletcher 5.Nicolas Pooran (wk) 6.Dwayne Bravo 7.Kieron Pollard 8.Carlos Brathwaite (c) 9.Samuel Badree 10.Sunil Narine 11.Jerome Taylor
Pakistan: 1.Sharjeel Khan 2.Khalid Latif 3.Babar Azam 4.Umar Akmal/Mohammad Rizwan 5.Shoaib Malik 6.Sarfaraz Ahmed (c) (wk) 7.Imad Wasim 8.Mohammad Nawaz 9.Wahab Riaz 10.Mohammad Amir 11.Hasan Ali
Evin Lewis to be top West Indies Batsman is 4/1 at Unibet
Sharjeel Khan to be top Pakistan Batsman is 7/2 at 32Red