Adelaide: With three straight wins behind them, Pakistan clash dangerous Ireland in their do-or-die pool ‘A’ final league game here at the Adelaide Oval Ground on Sunday in a day/night encounter with a focus on their batsmen to excel and carry them into the knockout stage.
Though pace bowlers with keeper Sarfraz Ahmed in comeback have gave a new lease of life to Pakistan team with a remarkable victory over formidable South Africa at Eden Park, Auckland last Sunday.
But team was yet to show his true potential and spark in the batting department and failed to cross 250 runs mark against minnows United Arab Emirates.
With big game on hand, team is now anxiously looking forward at their young guns-Ahmed Shahzad, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood and Haris Sohail to show their magic against Ireland’s not too much rated bowling attack, reports Ehsan Qureshi.
Both Umar and Sohaib are losing their poor shot selection and airy strokes after getting settled in twenties and thirties.
Ahmed Shahzad have scored 159 runs with 18, 33, 0, 1 and 47 in five innings while Sohaib raised mere 124 runs with string of 8, 45, 2, 50,0 and Umar Akmal got 13, 19, 33, 59 and zero in last five innings.
However if these youngsters showed their touch they are capable of run over victory against Irish team.
With experienced Younis Khan is likely to retain his place in the final eleven.
However Haris Sohail may be included in place of Sohaib Maqsood after getting fit from a heal trouble. Haris’ role as left spinner will also be handy.
Despite severe criticism on skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, he is proving himself as back bone of Pakistan batting with 277 runs to his credit to him which included four half centuries. But rests of the batsmen are yet to show their top form.
All-rounder Shahid Afridi’s lack of form is also bit worry for the team as he had scored just 93 runs and taken two wickets in five matches.
Pakistan pace quartet of Muhammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Sohail Khan are bowling with a lot of fire and destroyed South African batting.
But the track of the Adelaide Oval is stated as flat and pace bowlers have to bowl in right areas for taking wickets.
Wahab Riaz, who had bowled fastest ball in the event so far, is Pakistan leading wicket-taker with 11 scalps to his credit. Wahab could a threat for Ireland batsmen on the basis of his current form.
Those performances by the pace bowlers have raised the confidence of captain and that is why Pakistan is unlikely to field Yasir Shah in the line-up despite Ireland’s vulnerability against leg-spin
Misbah was also worried his team’s batting touch. But in spite this, he was looking confident to beat Ireland having sore memories of Ireland stunned Inzamam-ul-Haq’s Pakistan team in 2007 World Cup in Kingston (Jamaica).
Two members of that Pakistan team Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi and bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed were part of that humiliation.
Irish captain William Porterfield and Obrien brothers Kevin and Noill were the part of that historic win.
Pakistan team returning to a venue where made a dismal start after being outplayed by defending champion India in their opening league game.
Both teams are tied with six points each with three victories and two losses.
Both teams needed a victory to advance in the last-8 rounds of the championship.
Pleasant weather has been reported for Sunday and a large number Pakistani community residing here in the city is planning to witness this interesting game.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shahzad, Sarfraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (Captain), Harris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali, Muhammad Irfan, Yasir Shah, Ehsan Adil and Nasir Jamshed.
Ireland: William Porterfield (Captain), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Noill Obrien, Andrew Balabirnie, Kevin Obrien, Gary Wilson (wicketkeeper), Stuart Thompson, John Mooney, George Dockrell, Mak Sorensen, Alex Cusack, Peter Chase, Craig Young and Andy McBraine.