Pakistan vs West Indies, 3rd T20I Preview: Opportunity for Pooran's men as Pakistan look to test bench strength
Having already won the series, Pakistan are likely to hand opportunities to Usman Qadir, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain and Shahnawaz Dahani.
Pakistan already have the series in the bag. Regardless, it was a fine performance from the Windies in the 2nd T20I as they got as close to victory as one can without actually winning it.
When you are missing almost all of your first choice XI, it is a strong effort to go that deep against an in-form Pakistan side, that too on their home soil.
Changes aplenty for the hosts
West Indies made one change in the last match, bringing in leg spinner Hayden Walsh in place of Devon Thomas and the move worked quite well.
Pakistan were unchanged in the 2nd T20I but are set to make quite a few changes in this match, having already won the series as captain Babar Azam said in the post match presentation after the 2nd T20I.
Pakistan are likely to give chances to all the four players that are on the bench. Usman Qadir can replace Shadab Khan while Khushdil Shah can come into the XI in place of either Haider Ali, Asif Ali or Iftikhar Ahmed. Mohammad Hasnain and Shahnawaz Dahani are likely to replace two out of Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Junior and Shaheen Afridi.
The super consistent Rizwan
After having struck 200 in the 1st T20I, Pakistan were restricted to 172 in the second match of the series. Babar Azam, who wasn't able to get a lot of runs in Bangladesh, has failed in the first two matches of the series as well, but given the consistency of Pakistan, they won't worry too much about the form of the captain.
Mohammad Rizwan, on the other hand, continues to fire. It was a soft dismissal when he was caught in the circle while trying to connect a delivery, bowled almost at the tram line outside off stump.
Haider Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed also made contributions. But, it was the 12-ball 28 from Shadab Khan which shored up Pakistan's total.
For the Windies, Akeal Hosein continued to impress with the ball and was extremely economical, also dismissing the dangerous Fakhar Zaman. Oshane Thomas, Romario Shepherd and Hayden Walsh also picked up one wicket each while Odean Smith was the highest wicket taker for West Indies with two scalps.
Brandon King shows his chops
In reply, Brandon King showed what he is capable of with 67 off just 43 balls at a strike rate of over 150. King looked a class apart even when wickets continued to fall around him.
On the back of an beaten 19-ball 35 from Romario Shepherd, West Indies were well placed at the start of the 17th over of the chase.
However, Shaheen Shah Afridi, as one has become accustomed to seeing quite often, changed the face of the game by picking up 3 wickets and conceding just 4 runs as he accounted for three crucial scalps.
Good chance for WI
West Indies should have won the match but made some silly errors as they went on to lose by 9 runs. But, that they were able to take the match right till the end in the absence of most of their first choice players is credit to their talent and ability.
With Pakistan making a few changes to the playing XI in this match, the visitors should push hard to end the series at 2-1.
Predicted Playing XIs
Pakistan - Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Shahnawaz Dahani, 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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