Pakistan vs World XI – Third T20 Squads, Preview, and Predictions

The World XI spectacularly levelled the Independence Cup 2-1, setting up the grand finale at Lahore on Friday. Who will take the cup home?


Overview

A brilliant performance from Thisara Perera snatched victory from Pakistan as the World XI beat the home team by 7 wickets. Perera scored 47 from 19 balls, with an astonishing strike rate of 247, also taking 2-23 with the ball to ensure his side won the match.

Pakistan opted to bat first after winning the toss. Both teams went in with two changes each. Pakistan were forced to make both of them due to injuries, bringing in Mohammad Nawaz and Usman Khan for Hasan Ali and Fahim Ashraf. Sammy and Elliott gave way to Collingwood and Badree for the World XI. 

The home side set a target of 175 after Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam dominated the batting yet again, scoring 39 and 45 respectively. The World XI were riding on Amla’s 72, but the target seemed too far away before Perera walked out, and the rest is history. The two teams played some excellent cricket to entertain the fans as the series stands level at 1-1, with the decider on Friday. 

Squads

Pakistan

Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Sohail Khan, Usman Khan, Rumman Raees, Umar Amin, Aamer Yamin, Hasan Ali, Fahim Ashraf

World XI

Tamim Iqbal, Hashim Amla, Tim Paine (wk), Faf du Plessis (c), David Miller, Paul Collingwood, Thisara Perera, Ben Cutting, Samuel Badree, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, George Bailey, Grant Elliott, Darren Sammy. 

Where the Teams Stand 

Pakistan 

The home side will rue the chances they missed. Shoaib Malik dropping Perera on 30, when 22 were required off 9, was probably the moment Pakistan lost the match. Perera unsettled the bowlers as they kept bowling full tosses to him, which he gratefully put into the stands. Imad Wasim bowled well to end with 1-27 from 4, contributing 15 from 11 with the bat.

The others were all on the expensive side, with economies either 8 or above. Rumman Raees failed to keep his cool as he conceded 13 from 5 in the last over. Sohail Khan ended with 0-44 from four. Pakistan dearly missed Hasan Ali, who missed the match with a sore back. Though expensive in the last match, he has been a key performer for the side in recent times. 

Pakistan lost 4 wickets in the last 4 overs, dramatically reducing their final score from what it could’ve been. Azam, Wasim, Sarfraz, and Malik all departed, though Shoaib was dismissed off the last ball of the innings. Sarfraz fell to his first ball in the 19th over after Shehzad and Azam once again built a solid foundation for the Pakistani middle order to build on. Besides Malik, that failed to materialise, restricting the score to 174, which is above average by T20 standards, but it proved to be insufficient. 

Despite the loss, batting first seems to suit the Pakistani batsmen. In both the matches, they have looked like they would end up with much more than what they ultimately managed, and this after scoring 197 in the first match. They must avoid letting the momentum from the initial overs drop towards the end which is what happened today and arguably did in the first one after looking certain to pass 200. Ideally, Sarfraz will want to continue with what has been working for the team if he wins the toss next time too. 

World XI

Perera has received a lot of flack for being overrated and underwhelming, including from us at RealSport, but he showed everyone exactly what all the fuss and persistence was about. His all-around performance, coupled with Amla’s valiant 72 carried his team through to stay in contention for winning the series on Friday.

The World XI rectified all their mistakes from the last match, and they have been rewarded for it. They lacked someone who could bat through the innings, and Amla did just that. Their bowling performance was very impressive, except for Cutting (1-54 from 4) and Tahir (1-29 from 3). The move to play the extra spinner paid dividends as Badree picked up figures of 2-31. Morkel was the pick of the bowlers economically, ending with 0-20 from his full quota. They did what Pakistan did to them in the last match, stifle the run flow with regular wickets and it worked.  

Tamim Iqbal and Tim Paine, the culprits from the last match, were disappointing once again. They collectively managed 33 from 31 balls, an improvement from 43 in 43 in terms of strike rate, but still much slower than compared to the rest of the team. Du Plessis managed 20 from 14. His wicket was a blessing in disguise for the side as it led to Perera stealing the show.

Though they won, the World XI need to up the scoring rate in the first 10 overs. Last time it was 60, and this time 72. Considering the 6 overs of power play, these scores are not enough. Du Plessis might want to replace Iqbal at the top, roping in Bailey instead. He could also demote Paine and push Collingwood or his replacement up for the next match. 

The World XI has done well to level the series 1-1, and all they need to do is repeat what they did in the second match, plus some other minor changes. 

Prediction

World XI wins 2-1.

Who do you think will come out on top in the third Twenty20? Let us know in the comments below.

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Abhay Almal

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Just another fan of the gentleman's game with a quill and some ink, Abhay is a high school graduate who has spent a decade playing cricket on district and higher levels of the sport. Combining his passion for writing and playing led to him pursuing sports journalism as he prepares to major in Psychology.

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