ICC T20 WC: Injury cloud hovers as Malik, Rizwan doubtful for Pakistan against Aussies

Shubham Singh
11 Nov 2021
06:15
ICC T20 WC: Injury cloud hovers as Malik, Rizwan doubtful for Pakistan against Aussies

02:00 PM UTC: Australia vs Pakistan, Semi-Final 2, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

Pakistan and Australia will meet for the second Semi-Final game of the T20 World Cup. The winner of the game will clash against New Zealand to fight for the T20 trophy. For Pakistan, Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik’s absence can create fluctuations in an unbeaten campaign so far.

Will Rizwan and Malik be fit for Pakistan?

Mohammad Rizwan is perhaps the second-most important batter for Pakistan in the last few years. In this World Cup, He has made 79 twice and also played an important hand with 33 runs against New Zealand. He and Babar Azam have formed two 100+ partnerships so far this tournament and it is clear that he is a key component of the team. With him most likely missing the game, the team has asked Haider Ali to be ready.

Shoaib Malik brings both experience and knowledge of the game in the middle. He cracked a 19-ball fifty in Pakistan’s last game and against a threatening Australian pace attack, Pakistan is in dire need of batting depth. If he misses out, Pakistan will have to rely upon Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali who have not played in the tournament so far. Has Pakistan’s title hopes taken a hit here?

Australia still can’t take Pakistan lightly

Australia has both experience and power-hitting. With Warner in full flow, Finch looking to switch roles as per the situation, and a consistent Steve Smith in the middle, the team has a vast wealth of batting talent. Mitchell Marsh showed up against the Windies, Glenn Maxwell is a game-changer in the middle and both Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade can finish games, even rescuing the team against South Africa.

However, with a pace attack comprised of the sensational Shaheen Shah Afridi, the clever Haris Rauf, and a perennial wicket-taker in Hasan Ali, the Australian batting will be tested. Spinners Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan are flexible options and are always a threat. It is clear the road for Australia still will be tough even if Rizwan and Malik miss out.

Pakistan must be wary of Australian bowling

Adam Zampa has taken 11 wickets in five games for Australia and that paints a difficult image for Pakistan. Although Pakistani batters are great at negotiating spin, the Australian bowling has a pace-heavy approach. Josh Hazelwood has been pin-point with his lengths, Mitchell Starc seems to be back in his groove and Pat Cummins is a huge threat, making it an experienced and intimidating bowling attack.

Babar Azam has hit four half-centuries in five games but he knows well the destruction that the Australians can cause. The batting order’s reshuffle can surely affect the rhythm and it means Mohammad Hafeez may have to turn back the clock with some big contribution. Asif Ali has won the team two games but Pakistan would hope that the game doesn’t get that close. It’s time that Fakhar Zaman who is averaging just 13 gets his game going. Don’t forget that Shadab Khan has some ability with bat and Imad Wasim has also played some wonderful knocks. This is shaping up to be an exciting affair.

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