Pietersen explains ‘only way’ Babar Azam XI can beat England in World Cup final
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Bouncing back from the brink of elimination during the T20 World Cup Super 12 Stage, Pakistan has stunned cricket fans around the world, comfortably defeating New Zealand in their semi-final by seven wickets, on Wednesday last. Facing England in the final, the Babar Azam-led side will be eyeing the big prize. But former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen feels that the only way Pakistan can win is if "England self-destruct by being reckless and overconfident."
Chasing a target of 153 runs, Pakistan completed it for the loss of three wickets in 19.2 overs against New Zealand in the semi-finals. Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam played brilliant knocks and dominated the opposition bowlers. Rizwan slammed 57 runs off 43 balls and Babar smacked 53 runs off 42 deliveries.
Meanwhile, Trent Boult took two wickets. Initially, New Zealand posted 152 for four in 20 overs, with Shaheen Shah Afridi scalping two wickets. Daryl Mitchell registered an unbeaten knock of 53 runs off 35 balls.
On the other hand, England destroyed tournament favourite India in the other semi-final. Chasing a target of 169 runs, England raced to 170 for no loss in 16 overs, courtesy of some swashbuckling batting from Alex Hales and captain Jos Buttler. Hales clobbered an unbeaten knock of 86 runs off 47 balls and Buttler played an unbeaten knock of 80 runs off 49 deliveries. Initially, India posted 168 for six in 20 overs, with Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli bagging half-centuries. Meanwhile, Chris Jordan took three wickets for England.
Writing for Betway, Pietersen stated: "Pakistan need to hope that England self-destruct by being reckless and overconfident. I think it's an incredible strength that they can just go out there and play the way that they do, but we do know there's one thing that can happen to this England team – they can get rolled over for none, because it's a sixathon.
"That's the only thing that I can see derailing England, and that's what Pakistan need to hope for, because I don't think they can derail England themselves."
Pietersen also explained that although Pakistan defeated New Zealand in their semi-final, but 'they're not a great side.' "Pakistan will be petrified. They will be absolutely bricking it, purely based on what England just delivered," he wrote.
"They did a very good job against New Zealand, they were convincing. But New Zealand are a good side, they're not a great side. I don't think Kane Williamson is a T20 player, and his run-a-ball innings just doesn't serve the team to go on and win a tournament", he added.
The legendary cricketer also predicted that England would win the final against Pakistan with ease.