Chris Gayle will be the key if West Indies are to win against Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 encounter in Trent Bridge. (Image credit: Twitter)
A 0-5 whitewash against Australia. Against England in England, 0-4 with one match getting abandoned. A loss in the warm-up game to Afghanistan and a complete washout against Bangladesh. As far as ideal preparations for a major tournament go, Pakistan has not gone according to the script. To compound their woes, they face a West Indies side who are on the resurgence. In 10 World Cup encounters between the two sides, West Indies hold a massive advantage of 7-3 against Pakistan. With so much going against Pakistan, they head into this contest low on confidence and momentum.
When one compares the two sides, it is the question of West Indies’ batting and Pakistan’s bowling. Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite form the core of an intimidating top order. Gayle, in particular, can take the game away from the opposition with his big hits in the powerplay while Andre Russell can decimate the bowling in the death overs. If Russell can repeat his IPL 2019 heroics in the World Cup, then the task will be uphill for Pakistan.
For Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side, they can draw inspiration from their past record in ICC events in England. In 2009, they had won the World T20 and in 2017, they got the better of India in the ICC Champions Trophy final. Mohammad Amir, initially left out of the preliminary squad, is back and he forms a good bowling line-up with Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Hasnain. Shadab Khan, who missed the series against England due to a virus, is back and he will be a vital role in restricting West Indies’s power-hitters.
The Pakistan batting is also not that bad. Babar Azam has been the bedrock of their success while Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik in addition to Sarfraz have been consistent but they lack the power-hitting capabilities of the West Indies.
Trent Bridge has been the venue for big scores in England this summer. A total in excess of 350 is considered about-par at this venue. Looking at the team combinations, both teams will be tempted to play some spinners and slow the scoring rate down. Pakistan's spin department is slightly better than the West Indies but the Windies' batting gives them the edge.
West Indies (From): Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope(w), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder(c), Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Shannon Gabriel, Fabian Allen, Nicholas Pooran
Pakistan (From): Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed(w/c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail
Who will win?
It is the battle between two volatile teams. If the West Indies batting clicks, then Pakistan will be in trouble. Pakistan's bowling will be vital in restricting West Indies. On paper, West Indies appear the winner.
Weather and pitch
Conditions will be overcast but it will make no difference to the nature of the pitch, which will be flat. Bowlers are expected to suffer.
In 10 World Cup encounters between the two sides since 1992, West Indies hold a 7-3 advantage. Pakistan lost registered a victory against the West Indies in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal in Dhaka but West Indies have been dominant in all the other encounters.
Stadium and timings
The match will be played at Trent Bridge and the match will begin at 3:00 PM IST.