ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Battle of uncertainties as WIndies face Pakistan

Omkar Paranjape
Friday, 31 May 2019

If there are two teams known for their talent and unpredictable nature at the Cricket World Cup, they are the West Indies and Pakistan. The two have the might and talent to upset any team on a given day, but at the same time can plunge into submission.

London: If there are two teams known for their talent and unpredictable nature at the Cricket World Cup, they are the West Indies and Pakistan. The two have the might and talent to upset any team on a given day, but at the same time can plunge into submission.

As the two sides go head-to-head at the picturesque Trent Bridge ground in Nottingham, it will come down to finer details.

The dark horses, West Indies, must be beaming with confidence after beating New Zealand in a high-scoring affair in their second warm-up match. Pakistan, on the other hand, will be desperate to start the tournament on a winning note, following their recent poor form.

It’s a long time since West Indies were front and centre of international cricket. The champions of 1975 and 1979 have endured a period in the wilderness but captain Jason Holder has led West Indies brilliantly of late and taken a disparate, inexperienced outfit and forged them into a side that appears to know where it’s going. 

Pakistan’s poor form
Fans of Pakistan will hark back to their 2017 Champions Trophy success in England but this side has a different feel. They come into the event having lost 10 One-Day Internationals on the bounce. They were beaten by England in the recent series and lost to Afghanistan in their warm-up match.

Their English acclimatisation period doesn’t appear to have worked any wonders.

Pakistan will be all too aware that they need to be at their best bowling against the West Indies on this batting paradise in Nottingham and they will be desperate for Shadab Khan to find some form quickly as his leg-spin could pose some problems to the Windies’ fearsome batting line-up.

Shai gives WI hope
Shai Hope, who is in the form of his life, is perfectly capable of staying at the crease and building the innings. In his last five ODI innings, Hope has reeled off scores of 170, 109, 30, 87 and 74. He also made a century in the warm-ups to boot.

Their bowling is slightly less-heralded, but with a solid pool of all-rounders to tap into, they have several options on that front.

And besides, if the batsmen show up in the mood that they did against New Zealand, they’re going to have plenty to play with.

West Indies’ main selection dilemmas will come in the bowling line-up as they will be tempted to bring all-rounders like Russell and Brathwaite into the side at the expense of frontline bowlers and Oshane while Thomas may be one to be sacrificed after struggling in the warm-up matches.

Amir doubtful for Pak’s WC opener
Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir might not feature in Pakistan’s opening clash due to poor fitness.
Amir is not completely fit and has informed coach Mickey Arthur about it. He has asked for more time to rest before gearing up for the remaining matches in the tournament. 
It is learnt that the team management has decided to not let him play.

Pitch and conditions

  • Nottingham pitch has traditionally helped the seamers. Known to assist lateral movement, it potentially could be bowlers’ paradise.
  • The weather is expected to be cloudy for the most part, with some sunny intervals in between. Rain is expected to stay away, but the overcast conditions could make Gayle against Amir and Wahab Riaz an intriguing contest.

Probable Playing XI

  • West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Jason Holder (Capt), Ashley Nurse, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach.
  • Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq , Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (Capt & wk), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain.
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