After India, we shift our focus to the strengths and weaknesses of its arch-rivals Pakistan. Before that, let us have a quick look at the 15-member squad of Pakistan: Bismah Maroof (c), Javeria Khan, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Nida Dar, Aimen Anwar, Muneeba Ali, Aliya Riaz, Diana Baig, Ayesha Naseem, Fatima Sana, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Anam Amin, Iram Javed, Syeda Aroob Shah
The one name that is missing from the list is that of Sana Mir. Mir, 34, has been left out due to her poor form in the last year or so. Though the off-spinner is the second-highest wicket-taker in WT20Is, she failed to make it in the World Cup squad, since the selectors preferred current form over class, perhaps missing a trick that “Form is temporary, a class is permanent.”
Sana has featured in all the six World T20s and Pakistan will probably miss her experience at the ICC event.
Under the able aegis of Bismah Maroof, Pakistan will look to put up a better show this time around, erasing the past records. In none of the last six World T20s, Pakistan did qualify for the semi-finals.
|2010||West Indies||Group Stage|
|2012||Sri Lanka||Group Stage|
|2018||West Indies||Group Stage|
So what does Pakistan need to do? It is simple. They will have to capitalize on their strengths and find a way to overcome their weaknesses. Now, let us dive into the potential strengths and weaknesses of team Pakistan.
The form of southpaw Muneeba Ali will hold the key to Pakistan’s success in the World Cup. Ali averaged 58.4 in the national tri-angular series in Pakistan that was concluded recently and will look to carry the same form in the upcoming World T20. Additionally, the power-hitting ability of Aliya Riaz will come in handy as she can clear any ground with quite some ease.
From the bowling perspective, Pakistani bowling has a good mix of pace and spin. Off-spinner Nida Dar is the most experienced of the lot and will look to lead the bowling attack. Right arm medium pacers Aliya Riaz and Diana Baig will look to bowl well in tandem and provide early breakthroughs.
With respect to fielding, behind the stumps, Sidra Nawaz with 48 T20Is to her credit, will play a pivotal role. The outfielders are quick on their feet and have a good pair of hands. Overall, the fielding of Pakistan is disciplined.
A lot will rest on the shoulders of skipper Bismah Maroof and Javeria Khan, two of the prolific run-getters for Pakistan. With more than 200 T20Is between them, Pakistan will expect the duo to do the bulk of the scoring, which might put them under pressure.
From the bowling standpoint, though Pakistan boasts of a balanced bowling attack, it might miss the experience of Sana Mir, a wicket-taking off-spinner, especially in crunch situations.
Lastly, from the fielding perspective, it will be important for the players to acclimatize themselves to the Australian conditions and the ground dimensions, which are different from the Asian context. There are four new players in the squad who haven’t played a T20 World Cup and might be under some pressure early on in the tournament.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.