ISLAMABAD: Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar wants to see Pakistan and India in the final of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, saying it would be an exciting and thrilling game to watch.
“I want to see a Pak-India final and I hope they make it. Thanks to the Netherlands for downing South Africa and paving way for Pakistan into the World Cup semifinals,” he said in a video on his YouTube channel.
He was of the view that no team has dominated in the tournament. “All teams played badly, even Australia was out of the event and England is also not looking at its best. Pakistan has not played the best of cricket in the mega event but they did wonders in the last two matches,” he said.
The Rawalpindi Express said Pakistan was up against New Zealand in the semifinals. “New Zealand’s track record is not good against Pakistan as they get panic when facing the green shirts, but let’s see what happens,” he said.
The former speedster said Pakistani openers were also struggling and skipper Babar Azam was not in form. “Mohammad Haris has done well in the tournament and he played very well against Bangladesh. Well done team management Muhammad Yousaf, Mathew Hayden and Saqlain Mushtaq for working under pressure,” he said.
Akhtar said Shaheen Shah Afridi was not looking absolutely fit as whenever a fast bowler comes out of injury it happens. “But Shaheen has taken wickets and he has to make history by bowling well in the last two games. Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf have also done well in the tournament,” he said and added that Pakistani spinners would give a tough time to New Zealand.
Pakistan and New Zealand would go head-to-head in Sydney in the first semi-final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
Having beaten New Zealand in New Zealand to win the tri-series title recently, Pakistan would be eyeing a win with the momentum they have gathered over the last couple of matches in the Super 12 phase of the tournament. On paper, Pakistan was rock solid-two consolidating openers with another at No.3 capable of warding off collapses followed by a dynamic middle-order that has a healthy mix of bashers and floaters and enough left and right-handed options, two quality spinners and a world-class pace attack that has been dominating in this T20 World Cup.
New Zealand, on the other hand, has excelled as a unit across the three different phases. From Finn Allen’s Powerplay exploits to Glenn Phillips’ calculated onslaughts, New Zealand’s batting packs quite a punch. They bat deep and have batters for any situation in the game.
The bowling attack has a left-arm quick good in the Powerplay, a swing bowler, a high-end pace bowler who hits the deck hard and two different kinds of spinners.
However, New Zealand has thrashed the hosts and won all but one of their matches in this tournament so far. Pakistan would pose challenges, but there’s no doubt that the Black Caps are equipped to handle them, which makes for a mouth-watering contest on paper.
Predicted Playing XIs- Pakistan: Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Mohammad Haris, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (c), Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult. (APP)