Both sides come into the game on the back of defeats to Australia who sit comfortably at the top of the points table.
For Sarfraz Ahmed’s men, a win in Harare ensures them of a place in the final and as such, the Pakistan spinner might be tempted to bring on the bring guns to cement victory.
The men in green named have named an unchanged XI in the two games they have played in the tournament so far. The crushing nine-wicket loss to the Aussies broke a run of eight consecutive wins in the format for Pakistan and there could be a number of changes in the side when they take the field at the Harare Sports Club.
One possibility could be the return of Mohammad Amir in the playing XI after the pace spearhead was rested for the opening two matches. Amir’s chronic knee injury means that his workload is being managed by the team management in the run-up to the 2019 ICC World Cup.
However, with a place in the decider on the line, Amir’s experience could very well be called upon by Sarfraz. That would mean either one of Usman Khan or Hasan Ali would have to make way.
In the batting department, Hussain Talat has failed to fire in both matches so far in the No3 spot and he could be another player to make way for a fresh face on Wednesday. If Talat is dropped, 22-year-old Sahibzada Farhan could be in line to make a Pakistan debut though Sarfraz has the option of turning to the more experienced Haris Sohail.
PAKISTAN LIKELY XI
Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.
In a move that sent shockwaves through South African cricket, De Villiers called time on all formats of the international game earlier this May. The Proteas will now begin life after the maverick’s retirement when they take on Sri Lanka in a two-Test series beginning on July 12.
Ahead of the team’s departure for Sri Lanka, du Plessis spoke about the batsmen who he believes can take over from De Villiers. If the words of the skipper are anything to go by, then expect Temba Bavuma to take up the No4 slot for South Africa in the Test series.
“AB has only played the last one or two series for this Test team, so he has actually not been playing for a while,” du Plessis said.
“It will be a nice opportunity for Temba or somebody else to put his peg in the ground and make the position his own again.”
“Number four will probably be a good position for him (Bavuma).”
Bavuma has scored one century so far for South Africa in his 29-match Test career. The 28-year-old right-hander has amassed 1, 395 runs in 46 innings at an average of nearly 35. He made his debut for the Proteas in December, 2014 against the West Indies.
The South Africa skipper stated that the middle-order could see some shuffling on the turning tracks in Sri Lanka.
“There will be some good discussions in the team. Obviously, when you go to the subcontinent, the hardest places to bat will be in the middle because you come in facing the spinning and the reverse swinging ball,” he said.
“So what I think we will discuss is that we will try and get our best players of spin in the middle periods to try and counter that. So if that gives an opportunity to change our batting lineup a little bit, we will definitely be looking into that,” he added.
The South African will play a two-day warm up match which gets underway on Saturday before taking on the hosts in the first Test at Galle on July 12.
The elegant right-hander, coming in at the fall of Shikhar Dhawan’s wicket in the first over, knocked up a magnificent 101 off just 54 balls to guide India past England’s total of 159 for 8.
India finished with 163 for 2 off 18.2 overs with Rohit Sharma contributing 32 and captain Virat Kohli 20 not out.
Earlier Kuldeep Yadav had put England in a spin taking a stunning 5-24 from his four overs to help restrict the hosts in the first of three T20s .
Best for England were Joss Buttler with 69 runs off 46 balls, who opened with Jason Roy 30 from 20. The only other England batsman to contribute was all rounder Savid Willey with 28 off 15, with both Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root stumped by Ms Dhoni off Yadav for golden ducks.
Kohli won the toss before play and decided to bowl first. The visitors included Rahul, Suresh Raina and Umesh Yadav in the playing XI.
Eoin Morgan‘s men swept aside Australia 5-0 in the recent ODI series before winning the one-off T20 too. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli‘s men come into the series on the back of two comprehensive wins over Ireland in the T20 format.
Injury issues have affected both teams with England having to do without the services of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes while India will have to manage without Jasprit Bumrah and Washington Sundar.
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