Cricket’s showpiece event rolls on as two teams with an outside chance of making it all the way kick off their Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign today.
Two-time champions West Indies take on 1992 winners Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham in a crucial match that will decide the tone for them in the tournament. Both teams will be determined to begin the World Cup on a winning note and will go all guns blazing in their first match of the tournament.
The two most unpredictable sides in the competition come face to face at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge. West Indies and Pakistan can be indifferent or spectacular. But on their day, there is no doubt that they can challenge, and beat, the world’s top sides.
West Indies have lost seven of their last nine ODIs against Pakistan, but the team might have just turned the corner with the return of bigshots such as Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis and Andre Russell.
Pakistan haven’t had the most ideal preparation for the tournament. They lost to Afghanistan in their first warm-up game, and their second, against Bangladesh, was washed out without a ball bowled. More worryingly, they have lost their last ten completed ODIs.
Both teams have faced each other 133 times in ODIs, out of which, Windies have won 70 and Pakistan have won 60. In the last five matches, Windies are with two wins and three losses, while Pakistan have lost their last four matches, with one being washed out.
Date: Friday May 31, 2019
Timing: 02:30 PM PKT
Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Weather: Nottingham is expected to be cloudy for the most part, with some sunny intervals in between. Rain is expected to stay away.
Conditions / Pitch Report: The pitch, as ever in Nottingham, is expected to be excellent for batting which means there will be plenty of runs on offer.
Head to Head:
Matches: 133 | Pakistan: 60 | West Indies: 70 | NR: 3
Pakistan: L L L L L (completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies: L L W L W
Pakistan have a fully fit squad to choose from, with the team announcing 12 names from which the final eleven will be chosen. Senior batsman Shoaib Malik has not been included in the 12-member squad chosen for the World Cup match against West Indies.
Fast bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Muhammad Hasnain are also among the players who are not chosen by the team management which includes the skipper and coach. Pakistan now needing to choose between three of Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Waism, Haris Sohail and Asif Ali.
Pakistan’s Probable XI:
1. Imam-ul-Haq, 2. Fakhar Zaman, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Haris Sohail 5. Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt, wk), 6. Mohammad Hafeez 7. Asif Ali / Imad Wasim, 8. Shadab Khan, 9. Mohammad Amir, 10. Hasan Ali 11. Wahab Riaz
2. West Indies
On the other hand, West Indies, like Pakistan, do not possess an esteemed record in the past few years, but their side looks balanced and of high quality.
They are coming off a sweeping 91-run win over New Zealand, as the team posted a mammoth 421-run total and gave a glimpse of things to come.
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’s Probable XI:
1. Chris Gayle, 2. Evin Lewis, 3. Shai Hope (wk), 4. Shimron Hetmyer, 5. Darren Bravo, 6. Jason Holder (capt), 7. Andre Russell, 8. Ashley Nurse, 9. Kemar Roach, 10. Sheldon Cottrell, 11. Oshane Thomas
Players to watch:
1. Babar Azam – Batsman, Pakistan
Pakistan will consider themselves extremely lucky with the form that their batsman Babar Azam has been enjoying heading into the World Cup. Babar Azam is definitely one of the batsmen to watch out for, in the World Cup.
Pakistan may have lost all their games in England, but if there’s one positive out of these games for Pakistan, it is that their batsmen are in good touch after a string of consistent performances in last month. Babar Azam probably is the best of the lot and looked in form even when his team wasn’t doing too well.
2. Mohammad Amir – Bowler, Pakistan
The paceman has been brought with a purpose, and that is to add value with his experience. Amir brings past success in England and has all the skill-sets to succeed in these conditions, especially if swing is on offer, he is at his most devastating.
3. Shai Hope – Batsman, West Indies
Probably one of the batsmen to watch out for in the World Cup this year, Hope has been in scintillating form heading into the World Cup. Even in the last warm-up game against New Zealand where West Indies amassed 421 runs, Hope scored a century and looked in red-hot form.
4. Andre Russel – All-Rounder, West Indies
Russell is a force to reckon with while batting and can get a few wickets with his variations when he’s bowling.
Stats and Travia:
- This is the fourth time in six World Cups that Pakistan begin their campaign against West Indies. The previous three openers saw them win once, while West Indies triumphed twice.
- Babar Azam’s scores against West Indies read: 120, 123, 117, 13, 125* & 16
- Pakistan have lost 21 of the 32 ODIs they have played since their 2017 Champions Trophy triumph, and won only nine (2 no-results). Their current losing streak is 10 games.
Jason Holder: “We’ve just got to execute whatever plans we formulate, and I think execution is key in this tournament. I think the teams that execute their plans and be as disciplined as they can, they’re going to come out on top.”
Sarfraz Ahmed: “Our batting is performing well. We are very focused and we are very hopeful as a team that we will do well in this World Cup.”