Despite being an unfamiliar series on the cricketing calendar, the Independence Cup will be a highly anticipated event this week that will no doubt draw a lot of interest from countries all around the world.
For Pakistan cricket, this is a big deal given they are playing some of the best talent the world has to offer in a T20 series that will undoubtedly determine if their side is capable of matching it with the best of the best. Being a T20 series, this should work in favor of Pakistan given that they haven’t had the success they would have liked in the other formats over the past year or so, the conditions should also allow them to dictate terms ahead of the visiting World XI. The quality that Pakistan have gathered in their batting lineup should almost put them on even terms with the oppositions, although some aren’t quite equipped to the fast-paced format which certainly catches you out if a particular batsman is struggling on the big stage. Pakistan’s most promising up and coming young gun Babar Azam struggled to find his feet in the most recent Caribbean Premiere League tournament for the Guyana Amazon Warriors. Azam played five matches with a top score of just 23, he didn’t set the world on fire and barely struggled to contribute anything major during his time with Guyana. If Pakistan are to challenge a team like the World XI, players like Babar Azam need to produce what they’re capable of, under performing will just be digging the team a grave. Some notable selections that are expected to produce some epic individual brilliance are Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Nawaz. Some would argue that a number of those players lack consistency, but that’s what makes them X factors given that their very best is destructive and can often influence a result. It should also be pointed out that this Pakistani side has a very strong bowling attack, it features Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan who have all been significant contributors for their country.
Five South Africans, three Australians, two West Indians, one Englishman, one New Zealander, one Sri Lankan and one Bangladeshi – that’s the makeup of this years World XI squad. Led by South African captain Faf du Plessis, we will no doubt get to see a spectacle from these guys at some point this week, maybe even all three matches if we’re lucky! Given that this is the shortest format of the game, the World XI have gone for hitting power throughout the entire batting order which might send a few trembles Pakistan’s way. I don’t have to explain how good Hashim Amla is on almost any surface in the world, his consistency & dominance has made him one of the continents most notable top order batsman over the past decade or so. When I speak of damaging ball strikers who have been known to try and hit anything & everything out of the ground, names like David Miller, Darren Sammy, Grant Elliott, Thisara Perera and Ben Cutting will all be licking their lips on these dry Pakistan wickets. The World XI also have their captain Faf du Plessis along with veterans George Bailey and Paul Collingwood who tend to score in rapid periods as well, those three are the more conservative of the lot as well as Hashim Amla. Arguably Bangladesh’s best player behind Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal will be a very exciting prospect at the top of the order for the World XI given his dominance over the past couple of years with the willow in a team that has had more lows than highs it must be said. They also possess two of the best limited overs spinners the world has to offer, Samuel Badree and Imran Tahir. They are both highly experienced campaigners with over 100 combined T20 wickets to their name, both have also been involved in numerous T20 franchises including the IPL.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Pakistan | 1st t20 | Lahore
- Shoaib Malik
- Sarfraz Ahmed
- Shadab Khan
- Ahmed Shehzad
- Hasan Ali
Top 5 fantasy picks | World XI | 1st t20 | Lahore
- Hashim Amla
- Tamim Iqbal
- Imran Tahir
- Grant Elliott
- Faf du Plessis
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Ahmed Shehzad 2. Fakhar Zaman 3. Babar Azam 4. Shoaib Malik 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk) 6. Mohammad Nawaz/Faheem Ashraf 7. Imad Wasim 8. Rumman Raees/Sohail Khan 9. Mohammad Amir 10. Shadab Khan 11. Hasan Ali.
World XI (possible) – 1. Tamim Iqbal 2. Hashim Amla 3. Faf du Plessis (c) 4. George Bailey 5. David Miller 6. Grant Elliott/Paul Collingwood 7. Ben Cutting/Darren Sammy/Thisara Perera 8. Tim Paine (wk) 9. Samuel Badree 10. Morne Morkel 11. Imran Tahir.