In true Pakistan fashion, the Men in Green were thrashed by West Indies in their first game of the tournament before they turned it around and beat favourites England in the next game. After their game against Sri Lanka was washed out, Pakistan will need a positive result against Australia tomorrow.
Imam-ul-Haq: While Imam’s career average reads a cool 57.32, his record against Australia has been dismal. In three games, he has scored a mere 63 runs against the team from Down Under. History aside, he has not been at his best in the competition so far and will really need to pull up his socks for the sake of his side.
Fakhar Zaman: Pakistan’s only double centurion and the fastest man to 1000 runs has not turned up for the big show yet. After his exploits in the Champions Trophy two years ago, this would feel like a bit of an anticlimax for Pakistan fans. A little more patience at the crease might do the trick.
Babar Azam: An innings high score of 22 in the first game was followed by a well constructed 63 in the second. Anyone with two functioning eyes can see that he has immense talent but if he can’t convert his starts into big scores, he is just another good batsman in world cricket.
Mohammad Hafeez: Haris Sohail was afforded just one chance at No. 4 before Sarfaraz handed the crucial place to a more experienced campaigner. Hafeez repaid the faith with a 62-ball 84 against England which allowed his side to post a 349 run target for the hosts.
Sarfaraz Ahmed: He might be the butt of many a joke for his, for the lack of better word, candid nature, but underneath all that there is a batsman. He might not have the big hits in the locker but what he can do is stabilize the innings when the Pakistan top order collapses.
Shoaib Malik: The Indian damaad seems to be falling down the order with every single game. But his ability to play at whatever tempo is required is the reason he gets the nod over Harris Sohail.
Asif Ali: Coming into bat with just under eight overs to go and almost 280 on the board, the situation was tailor-made for him to explode and show off why he has a career strike rate of 130.88. To be fair he did that with a strike rate of 127.27 against England but added just 14 runs to the total.
Shadab Khan: After not getting a chance to bowl in the first game, he came back strong against England and dismissed both Roy and Root. He does need to work on his economy though considering how his pacers can’t keep the scoring rate down.
Wahab Riaz: There is something about Wahab Riaz and the World Cup. He not within a few hundred, if not thousand, leagues of a place in the squad having not played an ODI for almost two years. But not only did Pakistan take him back but handed him a starting role as well. With three wickets against England, he showed what he can do but the economy of 8.2 also gave us a glimpse of why he was ousted in the first place. Afridi’s terrible form will afford him a couple of more games.
Hasan Ali: He might be the most disappointing amongst all of the Pakistan bowlers in this World Cup so far. Not just because he has been atrocious, because he has been, but because we have seen him at his best. Only Sarfraz can tell us how long a rope he will get, but with pressure mounting from back home, the skipper might have a decision to make after the Australia game.
Mohammad Amir: The most consistent of the Pakistan pacers in the tournament so far. With five wickets in the bag already, he looks like he is back in form. How long he can sustain it is still up in the air but for the time being his place in this Pakistan team is secure.
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