Pakistan vs West Indies, 2nd T20I Preview: West Indies need to dig deep to challenge indomitable Pakistan
Pakistan have now won 18 T20Is in 2021, the most by any team. Hit by injuries and COVID-19, West Indies will have to do something out of the ordinary to come back into the series.
WI reeling without key players
West Indies were already without Kieron Pollard, Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Obed McCoy, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell and Lendl Simmons. To make matters worse, Sheldon Cottrell, Kyle Mayers and Roston Chase tested positive for COVID-19 upon landing in Pakistan.
You take these many quality players out of any side and the team will struggle to compete. West Indies have an even more difficult task ahead of them as they are up against a dominant Pakistan at home.
The unstoppable Pakistan
Pakistan have been in red-hot form and were one of the leading contenders for the title in the recently concluded T20 World Cup. The Babar Azam-led side has now won 18 T20 Internationals in 2021 which is the most victories by any team in a calendar year ever.
Pakistan are playing at close to full strength and look indomitable at home. For West Indies to pull back even one match in the series, they will have to put in a herculean effort.
Rizwan, Haider show class
Coming to the opening match of the series played at the National Stadium in Karachi. It was an unusual start for Pakistan as they lost captain Babar Azam quite early, that too for a duck. Fakhar Zaman also did not last long, making a run-a-ball 10.
It was Haider Ali's finest knock in International cricket till now as the youngster bludgeoned 68 runs from 39 deliveries at a strike rate of 174 after getting off to a steady start alongside Pakistan's top scorer Rizwan.
Pakistan would not still have reached 200 had it not been for a few lusty blows from Mohammad Nawaz who made 30 of just 10 deliveries as Pakistan looted 45 off the last 3 overs.
All West Indies bowlers, with the exception of Akeal Hosein, were expensive and went at around 10 RPO or more. Odean Smith in particular was completely out of sorts and gave 56 runs from his four overs.
WI fall apart
West Indies were never really in the game after they lost three wickets within the powerplay, with the scalps of Nicholas Pooran and Devon Thomas going to Mohammad Wasim Jr, who impressed despite being expensive.
Shai Hope was the top run scorer for West Indies and made 31 off 26 balls while opening the batting. Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd and Odeon Smith all threatened with the bat momentarily making fast-paced 20 but nothing more.
It was an impressive all-round performance from Pakistan. Shadab Khan was the pick of their bowling attack, taking three wickets from his four overs while giving away just 17 runs. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Nawaz and Haris Rauf also kept things steady.
WI have to dig deep
West Indies are not likely to make any changes to their playing XI, just one match into the tour. They do have Hayden Walsh Jr, Gudakesh Motie, Darren Bravo and Alzarri Joseph on the bench. If at all, Odean Smith can make way for Joseph.
The Nicholas Pooran-led side will have to do something special in order to run Pakistan close and the onus will lie on Pooran, the most accomplished batter in the team, to come up with an explosive knock and help the team put some big runs on the board.
Predicted Playing XIs
Pakistan - Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Afridi
West Indies - Shamarh Brooks, Brandon King, Shai Hope (wk), Devon Thomas, Nicholas Pooran (c), Rovman Powell, Odean Smith, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hosein, Dominic Drakes, Oshane Thomas
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