Pakistan will look to extend their unbeaten streak in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as they take on Namibia in their fourth encounter of the tournament at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday (today).
The Men-in-Green have defeated India, New Zealand, and Afghanistan in their first three contests of the World Cup campaign. Courtesy of their three successive wins, they are on the top of Group 2 with six points and will officially qualify for the semi-finals if they beat Namibia today.
Namibia were impressive in the Group Stage as they had upset Ireland to qualify for the Super 12s round. However, in the final round of the event, Namibia have managed to win only their fixture against Scotland so far by four wickets and they were seen wilting in the 62-run defeat against Afghanistan on Sunday.
Namibian batters haven’t been able to score against the big boys and the team is heavily dependent on the likes of David Wiese, who has previously represented South Africa, to score runs and also pick key wickets in their games.
The 36-year-old all-rounder was a part of Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) which might have helped him learn the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistan’s current World Cup squad and he can exploit them in the contest.
Other than that, the left-arm fast bowler Ruben Trumpelmann has been great with the new ball. He has taken 10 wickets in seven T20Is played this year with an economy rate of 6.65.
Furthermore, Namibian bowling all-rounder JJ Smit has been in impressive form as he has scored 421 runs in T20Is with a strike rate of 149.29; therefore, he can contribute with both the bat and ball.
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Former World T20 champions have never played a T20I against Namibia but they will have a clear edge over their opponents with their vast experience.
Moreover, Pakistan have been in phenomenal touch in the ongoing campaign courtesy of their in-form opening duo of Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan, who have scored 128 and 120 runs in the tournament, respectively.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Asif has been extremely effective in the lower middle-order where he has won Pakistan two matches with seven 6’s in just two innings against New Zealand and Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s fast bowling looks extremely strong with Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf on song. They have picked 5 and 6 wickets, respectively, in the tournament so far.
However, the Green Shirts have not yet found the solution for their fragile middle-order as Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez are yet to fire.
Despite their heavy loss to Afghanistan, Namibia are highly unlikely to make any changes in their playing XI while Pakistan might also continue to play with their winning combination.
Craig Williams, Michael van Lingen, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Gerhard Erasmus (capt), Zane Green (wk), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz.
Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez/Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali/Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi