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What stands between Babar Azam’s Pakistan and the T20 World Cup 2024 trophy?

What stands between Babar Azam’s Pakistan and the T20 World Cup 2024 trophy?

Pakistan have made the semifinals or better in 6 of the 8 T20 World Cups and were the finalists in the last one in 2022.

The Pakistan cricket team is one of the best-performing teams in T20I cricket. Their excellent bowling line-up and their unpredictability always make them a threat in the shortest format of the game. Three have won one title, made three finals, and made an additional three semifinals in the eight editions of the T20 World Cup.

The Babar Azam-led side are the finalists of the previous edition and have big expectations to live up to. Their bowling line-up, which looked arguably the best in the world in 2022, has too many holes ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024.

The Babar Azam-Mohammad Rizwan problem

Runs haven’t been the issue for Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan. The pace at which they are coming is the major concern. To ensure they utilize the powerplay, Saim Ayub has become Babar’s opening partner, but having Rizwan at number 3 continues to be an issue.

Their middle order isn’t much better. Fakhar Zaman and Iftikhar Ahmed are slow starters and often need time to get going. Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim are quick strikers but aren’t known to play long innings. They’ve also added Usman Khan to the middle order, but he has yet to prove himself.

Pakistan Cricket

Bowling: Injuries, form & inexperience

Naseem Shah is still their best bowler, but Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf aren’t what they used to be. Shaheen’s pace dropped; he’s taking heaps of wickets in the powerplay anymore while Rauf is currently out injured and his return date isn’t certain. Shadab Khan isn’t taking wickets like he used to, and Usama Mir offers very little control and isn’t economical either.

Imad Wasim is a perfect defensive left-arm spinner, but he doesn’t pick many wickets either. Mohammed Amir has made a return to the T20I team after 4 years, and not much can be made of his performance as he took 3 wickets in 4 matches against New Zealand.

They have Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan, and Abbas Afridi as well, but they haven’t proven themselves on the international stage. The three combined have played just 19 T20I matches and have the same number of wickets. They have tried and tested Mohammad Nawaz, but he’s too similar to Imad and won’t likely play.

All-rounders Aamer Jamal and Mohammad Wasim are the same kind of players. Both are par-level pace bowlers and can hit a long ball. One of them will probably play, but they aren’t good enough in either of the two departments.

Pakistan’s Probable T20 World Cup 2024 squad

Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Fakhar Zaman, Usman Khan, Azam Khan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Abrar Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim.

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