‘There is only one team that can beat Pakistan and that is Pakistan.’
‘We have to see which Pakistan turns up on the matchday.’
Unpredictability has been associated with Pakistan since, let’s say, forever. Pakistan supporters are accustomed to heartbreak since, let’s say, forever. Over the years, Pakistan has fielded great teams containing charismatic brilliant cricketers who were as capable of blowing oppositions away as were of self-destruction.
Babar Azam – Always On Top Of His Game!
Let us switch focus towards the current team participating in the World Cup. The team is captained by the batting genius, the man who is quickly becoming one of the best batsmen in the world in all formats.
The man who is endowed with grace and talent few have been blessed with and the man who has kept his head down and worked hard like few are able to. The man who is calm and pleasant yet capable of chiding his number 2 when he deems it necessary, “Budda ho gaya en, Budda ho gaya en…. paen di siri.. eh jawani vich out si tera, (You have gotten old, damn it, in your youth you’d have gotten him out” (YouTube).
In T20s Babar takes control from the outset opening the innings with wicket-keeper batsman Muhammad Rizwan. Rizwan may not be blessed with the elegance Azam possesses but, when it comes to grit and determination, you will be hard-pressed to find someone better. Rizwan is a living example of the adage, ‘If you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get the job done.’
A real hard worker, Rizwan is one of the most nimble fielder/keepers around. Babar the caresser and Rizwan the thrasher, compliment, each other at the top. They are the best opening pair going around in T20Is in the world.
A Look Into Pakistan’s Power-packed Batting & Bowling Lineup
In the middle order, Pakistan has able hands and cool heads in the form of Hafeez and Malik. Asif Ali is the power hitter at 6. Pakistan batting lineup packs power right to the end with Shadab, Hasan, Haris, and Afridi all capable of smacking it over the line with varying abilities. Shadab is already a genuine T20 allrounder with performances in PSL a testament to his abilities. Now a glance at bowling resources.
Shaheen Shah Afridi is a genuine wicket-taker and I would advise reading Osman Sammiudin’s article available on Cricinfo to understand how good this left-armer from Landi Kotal really is. He may come from one of the coldest places in Pakistan but he is in red hot form.
Thousands of people calling for his ouster at any given moment but this young man from Rawalpindi has, against all odds, performed exceptionally well.
Punjab has a history of producing toe crushers such as the likes of Sarfraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis but, recent Punjabis to crank it up have been from Pothohar plateau and now Haris Rauf is following in the footsteps of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Amir but hopefully, Haris will go on and have a fulfilling career which Shoaib and Amir couldn’t have for reasons we don’t want to get into right now.
Who Will Pakistan Play In The Semi Final?
As far as ICC men’s T20 world cup 2021 is concerned, Pakistan is all set to qualify for the semi-finals and the only thing that remains to be seen is that who will Pakistan play in the semis. This may come across as a brave boastful statement and may make even the most diehard fans of the Pakistan cricket team a tad bit uncomfortable. Deep down they do not trust the Pakistan cricket team. They have been through too many heartbreaks to put their wholehearted trust in their team. They will be at the throat of their own team. The team they are appreciative of immensely, at the moment, after two victories in the first two matches of the grand event. God forbid if Pakistan bungles it up against Afghanistan.
There are no guarantees in life, definitely not in cricket (ask those Indian fans, or better yet ask Harbhajan Singh) and it is not judicious to make a statement as categorical as ‘whom will Pakistan play in semis’. In my defense, I would like to say that as a Pakistan cricket fan, I hardly ever (or should I say never) get a chance to be so brazen and bold. It’s just that under Babar, Pakistan looks not so mercurial anymore. They look settled for a change and for a change, I believe in them wholeheartedly.
What do you guys think? Is Babar Azam’s captaincy adding the ‘consistent & not unpredictable’ label to the Pakistan Cricket Team? But mercurial they are not anymore for sure, what do you think.