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T20 World Cup 2021

With Babar at the helm and Shaheen leading the charge, Pakistan are the side to beat this T20 World Cup

by Divy Tripathi 4 minute read

Pakistan’s historic win against India in the T20 World Cup might just be a crucial step towards their second T20 crown. Divy Tripathi looks at what makes them such a dangerous side in the tournament.

While the emotions of fans, players, and families made it clear to everyone what this win against India meant to Pakistan supporters, facts can get lost in such situations. For what stands true after this crushing win is that Pakistan have announced themselves as the side to beat in this tournament.

Many opined that Pakistan could do well in this T20 World Cup, given the resources at hand, their familiarity with conditions, and form of their players. But the way they obliterated the bowling attack of another of the strong favourites shows just how ready they are for this moment.

A world-class opening combination at the top

Pakistan’s batting did not experience one hiccup in their comprehensive chase against India. This was because the job was done by the openers themselves. While the two have a fantastic record as an opening pair, sometimes question marks are raised over their performances, based on the idea that these runs haven’t come against the strongest of opponents. While this is something beyond the control of these batters, given that they don’t choose the opposition they get to play, they were able to show what they can do against a top-flight foe.

Bowlers of the class of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammad Shami were little trouble to the elegant batters as they carved them to all corners of the ground. Given their present form, Pakistan would expect them to deliver similar performances against the likes of New Zealand and Afghanistan.

Top notch bowling and availability of many options

While Shaheen was majestic with the ball, Pakistan’s other bowlers impressed as well by keeping things tight. Imad Wasim was effective with the new ball, Shadab overcame his recent ordinary numbers to deliver a delightful performance – grabbing the wicket of Rishabh Pant – and Haris Rauf didn’t let India get away towards the death.

Quite a few were impressed by how someone like Mohammad Hafeez turned his arm over and controlled the run rate in the middle overs. Pakistan used six bowlers, but they have a line-up where even the likes of Shoaib Malik and Fakhar Zaman can bowl should the need arise. This bowling group has several advantages. It can be used across conditions in the UAE, they have many names to call up if one of the main bowlers has an off-day, and they have enough variety in their ranks – with all sorts of tweakers and a strong left-arm option in the form of Afridi.

Babar’s captaincy

Babar Azam got every call correct – from the toss, to making the best bowling changes, and then leading his side with the bat. He was especially good in the field, keeping his calm at crucial moments, and bowling Imad Wasim, and Mohammad Hafeez at the right stages, quickly doing away with four overs between them. He also backed Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan to finish their full quota of overs, keeping things as simple as possible.

This leadership can propel Pakistan to greater success in the tournament. Perhaps the best of Babar came out in his speech after the game, where he exhorted his team-mates to celebrate but to also remember that this is merely a start for their team. He added that their focus should be on the next game, and not slip up as they have done in the past, for the bigger aim is to lift the cup.

These telling words by the young leader show his hunger and desire to lead Pakistan to a World Cup win. If their middle-order, which can be a cause of concern, fires, and bowlers like Shadab and Haris continue to do well, there is no doubt that Pakistan have what it takes to lift the trophy on November 14.

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