Pakistan will look to extend their unbeaten run in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup when they face Namibia in their fourth match of the tournament on Tuesday at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi (today).
The Men in Green have won their first three World Cup games, defeating India, New Zealand, and Afghanistan. They lead Group 2 with six points after three consecutive victories and will officially qualify for the semi-finals if they defeat Namibia today.
Namibia impressed in the Group Stage, defeating Ireland to advance to the Super 12s round.
However, in the final round of the tournament, Namibia has only won one match by four wickets, against Scotland, and they were seen wilting in a 62-run defeat against Afghanistan on Sunday. Namibian batters have struggled to score against the big boys, and the team is heavily reliant on players like David Wiese, who previously represented South Africa, to score runs and pick key wickets in their games.
The 36-year-old all-rounder played for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), which may have helped him learn the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistan’s current World Cup squad, which he can exploit in the competition. Aside from that, left-arm fast bowler Ruben Trumpelmann has performed admirably with the new ball. With an economy rate of 6.65, he has taken 10 wickets in seven T20Is this year. Furthermore, Namibian bowling all-rounder, JJ Smit has been in excellent form, scoring 421 runs in T20Is with a strike rate of 149.29, indicating that he can contribute with both the bat and the ball.
Former World T20 champions have never played a T20I against Namibia, but their vast experience will give them a clear advantage.
Furthermore, Pakistan has been in fantastic form in the ongoing campaign, thanks to their in-form opening pair of Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan, who have scored 128 and 120 runs, respectively, in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Asif has been extremely effective in the lower middle order, winning Pakistan two matches with seven sixes in just two innings against New Zealand and Afghanistan.
With Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf on form, Pakistan’s fast bowling appears to be extremely strong.
So far in the tournament, they have taken 5 and 6 wickets, respectively. The Green Shirts, on the other hand, have yet to find a solution for their frail middle-order, as Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have yet to fire.
Despite their heavy defeat to Afghanistan, Namibia is unlikely to make any changes to their starting XI, while Pakistan may also stick with their winning combination.
Craig Williams, Michael van Lingen, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Gerhard Erasmus (capt), Zane Green (wk), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz.
Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez/Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali/Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi