Pakistan look to continue their 'dream run' against Scotland
The 2021 T20 World Cup may have reached a stage where the result of every contest seems to have a bearing on not only the teams playing the match, but also the rest in the group. Those with the calculators are working overtime, and amidst all the chaotic calculations, comes a rather innocuous contest between Group 2 table toppers Pakistan and an inspired Scotland, who have punched above their weight.
Irrespective of who wins the contest, Pakistan have a ticket to the semi-final while Namibia stand no chance of qualifying. Yet, for whatever its worth, there will be a few boxes to tick for both the teams.
For Pakistan, it will be the form of Fakhar Zaman. The southpaw had come into the competition on the back of a couple of good knocks in the warm-ups. Still, he is yet to give the in-form openers the cushion at No 3. The veteran duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik may have made an impact in the limited deliveries they have faced so far, but would want to spend more time in the middle.
Even as none of Pakistan's bowlers have disappointed, only Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf have delivered match-turning spells so far in the tournament. Hasan Ali bowled a miserly spell in the previous game, but is yet to stamp his authority - much like the spin duo of Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim. Their good form though has ensured that Pakistan haven't had to rely much on their sixth bowling option - which can be split by Hafeez, Malik and Asif Ali.
Scotland don't have as many corrections to make, but a win in the Super 12s to end the campaign wouldn't be such a bad thing for a bunch of players who wished to be noticed by the member nations, a larger cricket-watching public and T20 franchises around the world. However, they have almost no chance to sideline the roaring Pakistani cricket team.
When: Sunday (today), November 7, 2021, 7:00 PM (PST)
What to expect: Pakistan, who had elected to bat against Namibia, would want to test themselves further in the contest against Scotland. While dew should aid chasing sides, it is unlikely to dictate the result of the contest.
Head to head: Pakistan 3 - 0 Scotland
Injured/Unavailable: Even as all players are fit and available for the match, Pakistan have the luxury and reasons to test out some of the players from the bench, especially the bowlers.
Tactics & Matchups: No other side has lost as many wickets against spin in Super 12 as Scotland. Pakistan would look to control the top order with spin. Moreover, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim have gone at barely over run-a-ball in the tournament.
Likely XI: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Injured/Unavailable: Concerns remain over Josh Davey's availability.
Tactics & Matchups: George Munsey countered R Ashwin's offbreaks pretty well. He will be tasked with taking down Pakistan's spin duo.
Likely XI: George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer (c), Matthew Cross (wk), Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Alasdair Evans, Safyaan Sharif, Bradley Wheal
Did you know?
Mohammad Rizwan is five runs away from overtaking Chris Gayle's record for most T20 runs in a calendar year.
Shoaib Malik is the only player to appear in each of the three previous Pakistan-Scotland T20I clashes
What they said:
"We've got to make sure we go in there with as much confidence as we possibly can do. We've got one last show, one last crack of the whip while we're out here... We'll go in there with as much enjoyment and freedom as we possibly can and try and make the most of the opportunity. We have some skills we haven't yet shown in the Super 12s. So tomorrow is the last chance we get to show them." - Kyle Coetzer, Scotland captain
"As a team, we're very confident. We support each other. We respect each other's talent, and we wish everyone, like, just go out there and do well. That is something very special in this team for this campaign. Yes, we're playing good cricket, but the goal is not achieved yet." - Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan all-rounder
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan(w), Babar Azam(c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haider Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed
Scotland: George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer(c), Matthew Cross(w), Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Alasdair Evans, Bradley Wheal, Josh Davey, Craig Wallace, Dylan Budge, Hamza Tahir