West Indies vs Pakistan 4th T20I Preview: Pakistan look to end cursed series at 2-0
COVID-19 and rain have conspired to ruin one match after another in the West Indies-Pakistan T20I series.
Let's be very scientific here. The universe never wanted this five-match T20 series, which is why it has been conspiring against the matches running their course.
The five-match series was first slashed down to four after a positive COVID-19 case emerged in the West Indies camp which led to the three-match ODI series between Australia and West Indies being delayed.
As a result, Pakistan who were already in West Indies after having completed their tour of England, had to wait one more day for the series to begin and had one less game to compete.
The first match of the series in Barbados was washed out after just 9 overs of play in which the Pakistan bowlers did well and did not allow the West Indian big hitters to get away.
Pakistan with unassailable lead
The 2nd T20I was the only match till now which reached fruition as Pakistan won by seven runs. Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam were the top scorers for Pakistan as is often the case, making 46 and 51 respectively while Jason Holder picked up four wickets for West Indies.
Nicholas Pooran waged a lone battle for West Indies as the team would reach 150 on the back of his unbeaten 62 off 33 balls in which he smashed 4 boundaries and 6 sixes, batting at a strike rate of 187.8. West Indies could not score 20 runs off the final over, mainly due to the dismissal of Kieron Pollard and went 0-1 down in the series.
The 3rd T20I saw just eight deliveries in which Andre Fletcher smashed 2 sixes, one off Mohammad Hafeez and another off Mohammad Wasim Jr after which rain pelted down for one and half hours.
There was a possibility of a 6-over a side game but the last inspection concluded that one part of the ground was still quite wet and the match was abandoned.
As a result, with the fourth and the last game of the series set to be played in Guyana, there is only one team which can win the series now. West Indies still have an opportunity to draw level which will certainly not be an easy task against a strong Pakistan side.
Moreover, the home side is carrying a lot of injuries with both their regular openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons missing out. Obed McCoy and Fidel Edwards are also not at 100% which has disturbed the balance of the West Indian side.
Last chance for WI before T20 WC
Both teams will be hoping that rain stays away as this is the last opportunity for West Indies before the upcoming T20 World Cup. The players will head into the Caribbean Premier League and will then board a charter plane to the UAE for the IPL and the T20 World Cup.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have 2 T20s against England to take stock before the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Teams to be unchanged
In the abandoned 3rd T20I, Kieron Pollard had to make a forced change, bringing in all-rounder Andre Russell in place of the injured Evin Lewis. Babar Azam too made a tactical change, replacing Shaheen Shah Afridi with Haris Rauf.
Afridi, along with Hasan Ali, is the leading pacer for Pakistan but the team management wanted to have a look at Rauf who lost his place in England. In the ideal world, they would have wanted to give a game to Mohammad Hasnain as well, but it seems unlikely now.
Spare a thought for Usman Qadir who would have been thrilled with the prospect of getting a chance in the playing XI but has hardly got a chance to showcase his talent. 1-0 up, Pakistan cannot lose the series and will try their best to make the bottom line 2-0.
Predicted playing XIs:
West Indies - Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh, Akeal Hosein
Pakistan - Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Sohaib Maqsood, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir
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