Pakistan will hope to draw from their memories of the 2017 Champions Trophy triumph in England when they take on a formidable West Indies unit in their 2019 World Cup campaign opener at Trent Bridge on Friday.
Sarfraz Ahmed and his men have not been in the best of form in the ODI format for some time now but will but they will hope that the magnitude of the World Cup will inspire them to raise their game against the Caribbean side.
PAKISTAN’S POOR ODI FORM
“We will seek inspiration from our Champions Trophy win because then also we were losing and then we lifted ourselves at the right time to win the trophy,” the Pakistan skipper told the media ahead of Friday’s clash.
The Men in Green come into Friday’s clash on the back of a 10-game losing run in the one-day format which included a recent 0-4 whitewash at the hands of hosts England. That is not even counting their defeat to Afghanistan in the unofficial warm-up clash which further exposed their ODI woes.
Quite simply, Pakistan have not been the same force in the 50-over format as they have been in T20Is where they are the No1 ranked outfit for some time now.
It is this poor form that Sarfraz’s men will need to shake off if they are to make a run at this World Cup.
MEN IN GREEN BANK ON AMIR AND WAHAB’S EXPERIENCE
One of the major talking points ahead of Pakistan’s campaign opener is the lack of potency in their pace battery at the moment. For a nation famed for its fast-bowling richness, Pakistan’s current pace unit does not inspire much confidence.
Pakistan will hope that experienced left-armed pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz can turn back the clock following their late additions to the 15-man World Cup squad.
Amir has been out of form since the 2017 Champions Trophy triumph with just five wickets to show for in his last 15 ODI appearances. Wahab, on the other hand, was not even included in the 23-man World Cup squad but Pakistan’s fast-bowling troubles in the England series has prompted the selectors to hand the pacer a shock recall.
Pakistan do have Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain in their pace ranks. but it is Amir and Wahab who will need to lead from the front with their experience of playing in major ICC tournaments previously.
POWER-PACKED WEST INDIES IN OMINOUS FORM
They might no longer be the force they once were in international cricket but the current Windies ODI outfit is starting to come together nicely for the World Cup.
With Chris Gayle and Andre Russell in menacing form at the moment, the Windies are capable of tearing any bowling attack at will as New Zealand learned the hard way in the recent warm-up clash.
The Caribbean side scored a mammoth 421 against a formidable Kiwi unit which had bowled out India for just 179 a few days before. Its not only Gayle and Russell who are intimidating opposition bowlers, with young Shai Hope looking in pristine touch as well over the past one year.
It is this brutal firepower that Windies will look to maximise in the tournament as they seek to bring back the glory days.
It is no wonder then that Hope believes that Windies could be the first side to break the 500-run barrier.
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Dwayne Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Jason Holder (c), Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel.
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