EDINBURGH: Pakistan will play their first T20I match against Scotland at Edinburgh on Tuesday (today).
Scotland, after beating the top-ranked ODI side England in a thrilling one-dayer, facing Pakistan, the number one T20I side, for the first of the two 20Is.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said, they were not taking their opponents lightly.
Scotland made a profound statement by setting a mammoth 371 runs target to England – thanks to Calum McLoed’s unbeaten 94-ball 140 – and turning the game in their favour in the middle overs after Jonny Bairstow’s blistering 105 off 59 balls got England off to a flying start.
Sarfraz talking to a cricket website congratulated to Scotland Cricket for their victory against England. “After watching them play against England, one can say that yesterday was Scotland’s day. The way they batted, bowled, and fielded, they deserve to be congratulated.”
Pakistan has made only one change – in its squad that whitewashed West Indies in a three-match T20I series in Karachi in April. As Babar Azam sent back to Lahore after a short-pitched delivery from Ben Stokes broke his wrist during the Lord’s Test. Haris Sohail was named as his replacement.
“We were not taking them lightly even before the England match. T20 is not an easy format,” said Sarfraz, under whose captaincy Pakistan have won 17 out of 20 T20Is. “We just saw Afghanistan beat Bangladesh 3-0. You have to play better on the day in this format. It doesn’t matter whether you are a number one or number eight side.”
“It is good for Scotland Cricket that they are playing good sides. They are playing England and Pakistan. The more they play such sides, they will learn more about the international cricket. They have recently played ICC World Cup Qualifiers – which is good. But, if they are playing better teams, they will do better and better day by day.”
Having spent more than a month in and around the United Kingdom, the conditions won’t be too alien for Pakistan team. And despite not having lost either of their series, it has been a period where they have characteristically blown hot and cold. What, however, will be their biggest challenge is to switch from Tests to the 20-over format.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer(c), Richie Berrington, Dylan Budge, Matthew Cross, Alasdair Evans, Craig Wallace, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Hamza Tahir, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Chris Sole, Mark Watt, Bradley Wheal, Stuart Whittingham