The T20 World Cup is upon us and Pakistan cricket fans are eager to witness their team in action against the top sides in the world.
Pakistan has played a lot of cricket over the past couple of decades and is quite familiar not only with the country’s conditions, but also its pitches.
Cricket buffs and analysts know Pakistani spinners (who are also all-rounders) Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan, will be skipper Babar Azam’s main weapon against India and every other opposition out there.
Here’s a look at how each has fared on pitches in the UAE so far:
“Professor” Mohammad Hafeez, who along with Shoaib Malik is the most experienced campaigner in the squad, has played 27 T20 matches in the UAE from which he has taken 14 wickets.
Hafeez has an economy rate of 6.12, which is a solid one by T20 standards. Out of the 11 T20 Player of the Match awards, he has won three in the UAE.
Imad Wasim, the all-rounder Pakistan sometimes looks to open its bowling attack as well, has played 11 matches in the UAE and taken 18 wickets from them .
Imad has an economy rate of 5.50, even better than Hafeez. Out of the five Player of the Match awards that he has received, Imad has been awarded four for his stellar performances in the UAE.
Pakistani vice-captain Shadab Khan has played eight matches in the UAE and managed to take 12 wickets from them. He has an economy rate of 5.61 in the UAE and has notched up two Player of the Match awards in the UAE, out of a total of six.
T20 World Cup: ‘Pakistan, India will qualify for semi-finals’
India and Pakistan will be two out of the four teams that will qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, says former Pakistan cricketer and commentator Bazid Khan.
In a video uploaded by the ICC on its official YouTube account, Bazid offered his insight into why the two teams will reach the last four stage of the tournament.
“My reason [for selecting Pakistan as a semi-finalist] is because Pakistan plays excellent T20 cricket in the UAE,” he said. “The [UAE] conditions suit them a lot. Here, don’t expect a 200 vs 200 game,” he added.
Khan said that in a game where each side, on average, scores around 160-170 runs, Pakistan “plays its best cricket”.
“Their bowlers also know how to bowl exceptionally well in the UAE by bowling cutters and the spinners know how to bowl stump-to-stump. They have perfected all of this,” he noted.
Bazid said that matches in the UAE are usually not high-scoring ones, hence the power-hitting factor will also be nullified.
He then said that the reason India would qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup is that similar to Pakistan, the Men in Blue also do not favour high-scoring games.
“India also has a bit of an issue when it comes to power hitting. They also rely on spinners and the pitches there will suit them [Indian spinners]. So the 160-170-run target will also suit them,” he added.