It’s world cup 2019 time and Whenever we start talking about Pakistan, only one word comes to our mind, “UNPREDICTABLE” and that’s what they truly are that!!
Pakistan looks one of the weakest sides on paper and is coming off losses from all over the world and look nowhere close to lifting the trophy. But they looked like this, In 2017 Champions Trophy as well, but after their loss against India in the first game, they started winning matches.
After they started winning, they eventually defeated the two current strongest ODI teams (India & England) in the process to lift the Champions Trophy!
1. Their Top Three:
For the first time I feel, Pakistan’s top 3 is settled and is looking strong. The likes of Fakhar Zaman, Inam-Ul-Haq & Babar Azam have done well consistently for Pakistan in recent times.
“Babar Azam is the Virat Kohli of Pakistan,” said Micheal Clarke and that’s a huge compliment for any cricketer in the world.
So yes, the top order looks good and only if the top order fires, Pakistan stand a chance to win tough matches in World cup 2019.
1. No Explosive Batsmen:
They lack that X-Factor in the batting line-up like the other teams has in Jos Buttler for England or Hardik Pandya for India or Andre Russell for West Indies who could make a difference of 20-30 runs at the end of the innings.
Yes, they have the experience of Shoaib Malik and Md. Hafeez but they lack that power hitter who could come in and give them that finishing kick at the end.
Pakistan Cricket Team’s Captain Sarfaraz Khan has to take the responsibility now to start and finish games for them more often than not. A lot would depend on this wicket-keeper batsman come world cup 2019.
2. No X-Factor in the bowling line-up:
Yes!! This is probably the first time I am saying that Pakistan doesn’t have an X-Factor in their bowling line-up. Pakistan has picked some familiar names in the pace bowling department in Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz & Hasan Ali.
But none of them have been in good form off late and have not been effective against quality sides. They have picked two 19-year-old fast bowlers in Shaheen Afridi and Md. Hasnain who has a huge reputation for bowling quick.
Shadab Khan is one of the young sensations from Pakistan and Pakistan’s hopes depend on this guy’s performances.
For the first time, I am picking a batsman from Pakistan as the X-Factor of the Pakistan Team. It’s Babar Azam!!
He has been in sensational form in limited overs cricket for Pakistan and he bats in the most critical batting position for any team, at No.3. So he is the one who has to take the responsibility this time around to score the bulk of runs for his side and win Pakistan Important Matches.
Expected Playing XI:
1. Fakhar Zaman
3. Babar Azam
5. Shoaib Malik
6. Sarfaraz Khan
7. Imad Wasim
8. Shadab Khan
9. Hasan Ali
10. Md. Amir
11. Wahab Riaz
12. Shaheen Afridi
13. Md. Hasnain
14. Asif Ali
15. Haris Sohail
Fixtures for World cup 2019:
31/05- vs West Indies @ Nottingham
03/06- vs England @Nottingham
07/06- vs Sri Lanka @ Bristol
12/06- vs Australia @Taunton
16/06- vs India @ Manchester
23/06- vs South Africa @ London
26/06- vs New Zealand @ Birmingham
29/06- vs Afghanistan @ Leeds
05/06- vs Bangladesh @ London
Where will Pakistan finish at world cup 2019?
I personally don’t see Pakistan in the semi-finals for World cup 2019 just for the fact that this is going to be one of the most competitive world cups ever and teams which are highly consistent can only make the knock out stages.
Champions Trophy and World cup are two completely different tournaments. But you just never know, what Pakistan has to show us. The young players like Shadab Khan & Md. Hasnain may make an impact in the tournament maybe give Pakistan the much-needed boost!!