- Babar Azam-led Pakistan is the third ranked T20I team
- Pakistan defeated India in the ICC T20I World Cup by a margin of 10 wickets
- Pakistan will face arch-rivals India on August 28, 2022 at the Dubai International Stadium
IND vs PAK: The third-ranked T20I team of the world, team Pakistan under the leadership of Babar Azam had had an euphoric rise, especially after how they decimated the mighty Indian team in the ICC T20 World Cup in 2021. They took on India at the Dubai International Stadium in the ICC T20I World Cup, the same venue that will host the Indo-Pak clash on August 28, 2022. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is somewhat like a home to the Pakistan team as they have played loads of matches, in every format for the past few years. They certainly know the conditions better than any other participating team in the event. Not discounting the fact that India has played one and half seasons of the Indian Premier League in the UAE, but as far as the international experience goes, it certainly differs from the one that is acquired from playing a league.
This year around, the Asia Cup will be played in the T20I format. The tournament will be played in a double round-robin format and will certainly be a dress rehearsal for the T20I World Cup which will be played in Australia later this year. Unlike team India who lost Japsrit Bumrah to a back injury just before the Asia Cup, team Pakistan has the headache of choosing an apt replacement for their star pacer Shaheen Afridi. Pakistan lost Shaheen to a knee injury that he sustained during Pakistan’s Test tour to Sri Lanka. Pakistan as of today is a global heavyweight and can’t be taken lightly. The team is quite unpredictable and for years they have had this tendency to bamboozle oppositions. Nobody can predict what the Pakistan team can do on any given day.
The boys in green have never really enjoyed a great run at the multi-nation cricketing event that involves only the countries stationed in Asia. In 12 Asia Cup appearances, Pakistan has managed only to win on 2 occasions (2022 and 12). Pakistan announced their squad for the Asia Cup on August 3, 2022, as Babar Azam their leader for the marquee tournament.
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Here is a SWOT Analysis of team Pakistan. Let’s delve into analyzing the positives and negatives
The positives: Experience, starting with experience because the men in green have been used to the conditions of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and have a better grasp of how the conditions behave, how much dew settles in, and how much impact the toss has on the game. Pakistan has a dominant record of winning 17 T20Is in 28 T20I appearances. This also includes the record of Pakistan winning eight T20I matches in a row. Babar Azam has been in the form of his life and his deputy Rizwan has all the capability to get off to a flyer with Babar playing the role of an anchor. With Babar and Rizwan going strength to strength, it is Fakhar Aaman who walks in at number 3 and can hit the long ball and propel Pakistan’s scoring and their chances of victory.
The negatives: Pace bowling has been one of Pakistan’s strength and their pacers have always impacted cricket history. Ahead of the Asia Cup, Pakistan suffered a major setback as they lost left-armed pacer Shaheen Afridi to a knee injury. Pakistan will struggle to find someone who can replace Shaheen and have that impact on the game. On the other hand, Pakistan is facing a strange conundrum when it comes to its number 4. Pakistan still can’t determine anybody to bat at number 4 and might try Shadab Khan at that position.
Pakistan squad for Asia Cup: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali.