Defining unpredictability, Team Pakistan held their nerve as the stepped in the Trent Bridge stadium to beat the hosts by 14 runs on Monday, just three days after collapsing to a seven-wicket defeat against the West Indies at the ‘same venue’ in their very ‘first match’…
But before answering the question of which team has more chances to win, keeping the tradition alive of my previous world cup blog series, let’s discuss the victory Team India snatched from the gloves of Team South Africa, when both the teams played the 8th ODI of the World Cup 2019.
Rose bowl cricket stadium’- the stadium where India started their campaign with a victorious innings against Team South Africa, as the later dusted up their third loss of the championship. Losing Dale Steyn to injury earlier, and Lungi Ngidi later… in the clash between India and South Africa, the baggy green had nothing much to offer to the World’s best batting line up. But with the immense talent the Indian team has, like two highly skilled wrist-spinners and as I like to say it; one of the bowlers of this generation, this game was nothing short of ‘avengers taking on Thanos without the infinity stones’ (major infinity war feels).
Be it Rassie van der Dussen playing his bat for reverse sweep, or JP Duminy playing on the back foot, no one was safe from the Indian Bowling attack. With their most prominent player Faf du Plessis falling prey to the slider crashing his stumps. This early damage done to the South Africans was too much for even Chris Morris’s interesting innings of scoring 42 runs from 34 balls, to pull them out of their misery of choosing to bat and giving the ‘men in Blue’ the target of mere of 227 runs. The Indian were quick to show why they’re called the best batting line-up as Rohit Sharma alone scored a magnanimous century and put 122 runs on the board. His innings helped him surpass records of Saurav Ganguly and Shukhar Dhawan and now stands with a record of 23 centuries on ODI cricket.
Sri Lanka: a match for Pakistan or not?
After ending their 11 ODI losing streak, Pakistan roared and came around with defeating the hosts,
now prepares to embark on a journey of maintaining their resurgence against Sri Lanka, which will be played in Bristol on Friday with proud World Cup track record to support the ‘Men in Green.
Locking their horns seven times on the World cup platform, the luckless Lankans have been beaten in every match by their Asian neighbors. Despite the ‘Lions’ getting extremely close to upsetting the record, they didn’t roar high enough to trample the Men in green.
As dramatic as it could be, with a downpour expected, the Lions and the shaheens are scheduled to face off on Friday in the Bristol County stadium. In order to prepare for the battle against the lions, Team Pakistan team players celebrated the second day of Eid-ul-Fitr by attending a practice session.
But being as modest as on should be, let’0s all stay grounded and remember that Pakistan team is ever so unpredictable and at this stage they need all the prayers.
Let’s keep those fingers crossed.
Pitch perfection. Predictions.
With everything being measured and in control, two factors remain outside of anybody’s control. Firstly, the unpredictability of the ‘shaheens’ and secondly, the weather- with a persistent rain forecast in Bristol on Friday. Moving on from the weather, another prediction is on the cards… Win prediction. As per google, Pakistan stand with 72% probability, leaving 28% for the Lions. But again, being thankful yet modest, let’s just all hope that the boyses are able to bag this victory because I’m sure it’ll be Eid= complete if the team wins this.
Talking about the pitch, this battle will be fought in the Bristol County stadium. The ground has said generally to be more bowler-friendly than most pitches. So Pakistan might be tempted to bring in the fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain for the raw pace that he has. This is something that the kiwis (team NZ) exploited against the Sri Lankan team during their 10-wicket rout of their opponents on Saturday, at the game played at Cardiff.
Shedding some light on the history, 19 ODI matches have been played in this ground. With 10 times the team who chased in the second innings winning the match, giving it a percentage of 59%.
So, a very simple game plan… get set. Win the toss. Choose to bowl. Show exceptional bowling performance. Restrict the opponents. Bat fine and win? No, if only things were this simple.
After a somewhat glorious win, it’s highly unlikely that Pakistan will make a change in the squad for the upcoming match against Sri Lanka. However, with the given conditions, a case can be made to play an extra seamer. This consideration comes after viewing the lions to succumb to the seamers in their first two matches of the World Cup, it would be a good idea to go out and attack with an extra seamer and a new-ball. If this move works out, the shaheens may be able to get some early breakthroughs which could definitely put the Sri Lankan team on the back-foot.
But the question is, who that seamer could be and who should be replaced?
Pakistan has talents like Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain, waiting on the bench for their turns. Shaheen Afridi could be the best option for Pakistan as he has shown some good performances with the new ball unlike bowlers like wahab Riaz and Hassan Ali. He may be the best bet against Sri Lanka,that could guarantee the win that Pakistan seeks at this stage.
Predictions or percentages, nothing is set in the stone. Always keeping in mind Pakistan unpredictability, one can only pray that they don’t get too overexcited or relaxed after their recent win against the hosts because team Sri Lanka recently won the match against Afghanistan and at this stage, any win is a confidence booster. So let’s hope for team Pakistan to win this match and complete the festive of Eid. Such happiness is much needed.