Sarfraz Ahmed, skipper of Pakistan team, will be desperately eyeing to end the 10-match long losing streak in ODIs. Moreover, they will be looking to gain momentum from their first game of the World cup. On the other hand, West Indies, who demolished New Zealand, must be looking to continue their form.
Pakistan are heading in the mega tournament with a defeat against Afghanistan in the warm-up match, while West Indies showcased absolute carnage against the Kiwis as they piled up 421 runs. But, the two games do not justify their recent form. Pakistan had scored tonnes of runs against England in the ODI series ahead of the World Cup, while it has been ages since the Windies have won an ODI series.
The match is expected to be between West Indies’ explosive batting line against Pakistan’s competent bowling attack, who has been struggling for a year or so. However, with the comeback of Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, they look like a different bowling unit.
But, in the likes of Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Andre Russell, they can tame any bowling line on their day. Pakistan must be wary of their firepower. In contrast, Pakistan have a solid opening pair in the shape of Fakhar Zaman, the unorthodox striker and Imam Ul Haq, who plays the anchor role and has been in the runs. Babar Azam is extremely consistent, more importantly, he manages an average of 102 runs against the West Indies. Pakistan have got the ability to counter Windies’ pace attack, but it gets difficult for them to score anywhere above 7 runs per over, because they have similar kind of batsmen from 1 to 5 except Zaman.
Both the teams will probably look to bat first as West Indies play well without the pressure of scoreboard and they get the license to go all guns blazing. Whereas, Pakistan also struggle while chasing.
West Indies: Shai Hope has been in top form, Pakistan must look to get rid of him early in the inning.
Pakistan: Shadab Khan, West Indies are good players of pace, so Shadab Khan with his leg-spin and googlies will be essential for Pakistan.
Predicting the two unpredictable teams is tough, however, Pakistan may have slight edge over the opponents.