T20 heavyweights ready for competitive clash as series starts today

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Arguably the heavyweights of the shorter format, Pakistan and West Indies face each other in a four-match T20I series in Barbados and Guyana respectively from today.

The series had to be scrapped to four matches from five after COVID-19 interrupted the ODI series between the West Indies and Australia last week. The havoc forced Cricket West Indies to prolong the ODI series for a day.

The hosts have been in action constantly as they just finished Australia series and were previously busy against South Africa. Meanwhile, Pakistan reached the Caribbean last week after a disastrous tour of England where they won one match out of six limited-over games.

This T20 series is very important considering the T20 World Cup 2021 is just a few months away. Pakistan have upper hand over T20 World Champions as they have won nine out of last ten encounter against them

Pakistan

Green Shirts looked below par in series against England and will look to rectify problems in this series. The crisis in the middle-order continue to trouble Pakistan despite having Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam at the top.

The team management might change the playing XI and fans can see Sharjeel Khan opening the innings with Rizwan and Babar batting at three to give sustainability in middle-overs.

Pakistan have tried 19 different batters in last two years in the middle-order and still haven’t figured out the right combination. The series will provide another oppurtunity to Sohaib Maqsood, Fakhar Zaman and Azam Khan to cement their places while Mohammad Hafeez will aim to get back his last year’s form in this series.

Pakistan may have a slight advantage is the bowling attack. The surface in Barbados was very spin-friendly and it will allow Imad Wasim, Usman Qadir, and Shadab Khan to rub their shoulders.

The pace attack looks settle with Shaheen Shah and Hasan Ali but form of Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf is questionable as they have been the weak link in the squad.

West Indies

Windies thrashed mighty Australia by 4-1 and asserted their power ahead of the T20 World Cup in October/November later this year.

Every batter has the power to hit the ball from start. Evin Lewis have been in sublime touch with Lendl Simmon and Chris Gayle forming a powerful top three. Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Jason Holder fill the middle-order.

Pakistan can exploit Windies with their spin attack as in the recent past, they looked vulnerable in front of George Linde, Adam Zampa and Tabraiz Shamsi.

Meanwhile among bowlers, Hayden Walsh was the pick of the bowlers in Australia series with 12 wickets to his name but he was not the only one that found success.

Dwayne Bravo was brilliant at the death overs, Obed McCoy has taken his game to the next level, and even Andre Russell was consistently able to pick up wickets.

While the West Indies is going to be a bit tired after playing so much cricket in the last few days, it does have a number of players that only play T20 cricket to help share the load.

Squads:

West Indies: Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Kieron Pollard (C), Andre Russell, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Hayden Walsh Jr, Fidel Edwards, Obed McCoy, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Andre Fletcher, Sheldon Cottrell, Akeal Hosein, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas

Pakistan: Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Arshad Iqbal, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain

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