Melbourne. Captain Babar Azam will be eyeing his way to a victory against in-form England in the T20 World Cup final here on Sunday as he joins Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan in the ‘Hall of Fame’. However, the 2009 champion’s journey to the final was nothing short of a thrilling ‘script’ as he came close to an exit in the first week of the tournament, thanks to demoralizing defeats to arch-rivals India and Zimbabwe. But in the second week of the tournament, Pakistan made a dramatic comeback and raised hopes with a win over South Africa.
The prayers of the Pakistani fans worked, which again led to a 1992-like miracle and the Netherlands performed brilliantly to beat South Africa and throw them out in an uproar to reach the semi-finals. Critics in cricket say you can’t say anything in the game. Pakistan played an excellent game against New Zealand in the semi-final and proved that when the match is full of pressure, it is no less than anyone. Now the fans’ hopes are set on repeating the 1992 charisma from Babar’s team. But the history of England’s team is also connected on this Australian soil.
It was here seven years ago that England’s white-ball cricket came to a halt when Bangladesh knocked them out of the tournament in the group stage. It was only after all the efforts of England and Wales Cricket (ECB) that the change in their white ball cricket started, which changed the spirit of the players of the team. His fearless attitude was clearly seen in the semi-final against India on Thursday. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr and Harris Rauf will have to deliver more than just inspiring spirit to beat England’s stalwarts like Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.
These veteran players of England’s T20 cricket and all the other cricketers in the team have the ability to silence close to 80,000 Pakistan spectators as they disappointed 42,000 Indian spectators in Adelaide. Can Afridi bowl like Wasim Akram in this match when Butler is batting? Or Babar and Rizwan have the ability to show the same depth in batting that Imran Khan and Javed Miandad showed in the 1992 final. One player is always the center of attraction in big matches and Stokes would like to be the apple of the team’s eyes by repeating the 2019 Lord’s performance.
According to the forecast of the Meteorological Department, there is a shadow of rain on ‘Reserve Day’ (safe day) on Sunday and Monday in the final. A minimum of five overs can be played in a normal T20 match, but in the World Cup, the technical committee has set a minimum provision of 10 overs for each team, with the match starting early on ‘reserve day’, if needed. Hardik Pandya may have batted aggressively against Chris Jordan but he is a good T20 bowler and will have to make the most of his Big Bash League experience against Pakistani batsmen.
If we look at the batting unit of both the teams, England consists of Hales, Butler, Stokes, Phil Salt (in place of David Malan), Harry Brooke, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone who on paper are Pakistan’s Rizwan, Babar, Shan Masood, Mohammad Haris and Iftikhar look very strong against Ahmed. But in big matches, it’s not always the big names that matter, the mindset and passion are key to reaching the target.
Teams: England: Jos Buttler (captain), Alex Hales, Phil Salt, Harry Brooke, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, David Malan, Sam Curran, Mark Wood, Tymal Mills. Pakistan: Babar Azam (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Haris, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shadab Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain . The match will start at 1.30 pm Indian time.