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Cricket Betting Tips - Pakistan – World Cup Prospects

Pakistan – World Cup Prospects
©Reuters
 

The 2019 World Cup got underway today with Pakistan team still searching for its best combination and winning strategy to come out of a serious ODI slump.

Having achieved barely anything in 50-over white ball cricket since their winning the 2017 Champions Trophy in England, it is set to play on their minds, going into their opening fixture against West Indies at Trent Bridge on Friday 31st May.

After finally making up their minds on a more-or-less universally approved strong 15-man squad, led by wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, the team management has the challenge to come up with a ‘magical formula’ to bring the side back on the winning track. The green shirts are set to enjoy a massive following from its supporters at all the World Cup venues.

The hosts, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), by inviting Pakistan for a five-match ODI series in May, has provided the tourists with a good ‘feel’ of the playing conditions, going onto a major tournament. It has also meant the core group of Pakistan players have visited these shores for the last four English summers. 

The 10-nation tournament, played on round-robin  or on single-league basis - a format previously only employed by ICC back in the 1992 World Cup - is set to ignite great global interest. By playing a game each against all the participating nations, Pakistan, must have found out - after their defeat in a warm-up against Afghanistan- that there is not a single game to pick up ‘easy’ points.

In order to make each game count for every team, ICC have reduced the teams from 14 in the 2015 World Cup and having done away with its associate members and even the two Test playing nations – Zimbabwe and Ireland – too did not get through automatically.

The host England, alongside Australia and India, to many observers, are front-runners to reach the semi-final stages, leaving the other seven nations to fight for the remaining slot among the four top teams for the knock-out stages. Given half decent weather, Pakistan has the potential to upset the odds, in what could turn out to be the most ‘open’ World Cup. The form and fitness of key players, usually tips the scale, in crunch games and Pakistan is no different in this six-week long tournament.

On present form and the strength of its squad, it will require a ‘miracle’ for Pakistan to reach the semi-final stages. Realistically it will struggle to finish in the top six unless the hot English summer allows reverse swing and wrist spin  - two of the team’s potent bowling weapons – to play a part. The use of a new ball at each end with the flat-seam Kookabura brand, seem to have handed an unfair deal to the bowlers. The scenario is the same for all the bowlers and a total of under300 mark is no longer a ‘safe’ defendable total.

The critics, very rightly, are refusing to write off Pakistan, for major ICC tournaments in the past, has witnessed some breath taking brilliance from this mercurial cricketing nation. A tag of unpredictable sits firmly with Pakistan, no doubt, but its recent ODI record, both at ‘home’ in UAE and anywhere else has been predictably poor.

Most of the batsmen struggle to keep up with the tempo of the modern times, bowlers not possessing enough venom to take wickets and  the fielding too still playing a catching up game, with the rest of the world In the present scenario, Pakistan as so often, finds itself relying too much on the individual brilliance which often causes their downfall.

The question arises if the Head Coach Micky Arthur, whose tenure began in May 2016, has got the best out of Pakistan players. In his first year in charge with both Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, still around, Pakistan cricket was marching forward before the wheels came off in a dramatic fashion.

At present it is struggling to keep up with the pace, in both red-ball Test cricket and the white-ball ODIs but sits at the top of ICC ranking in T20Is. A poor show in the World Cup is set to see pressure increasing for a ‘change’ at the helm in both coaching and management.

Pakistan World Cup Squad  : Sarfraz Ahmed (captain & wicket-keeper), Asif  Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik & Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan – World Cup Honours

Winners : 1992

Runners-up : 1999

Semi-Finalist : 1979, 1983, 1987 & 2011

©Cricket World 2019