Tuesday, May 28, 2019

How do you think Pakistan will fare in the World Cup?

With each team playing the other once, the ICC World Cup 2019 will be the most competitive World Cup yet. Even teams like Afghanistan and Bangladesh have the potential to surprise the big boys on their day.

With at least 6 wins out of 9 guaranteeing a semifinal spot, barring net run rates coming into play, it will not be easy for any one team.

The competition is wide open and it gets underway in just 2 days!

Here is a look at Pakistan's chances against each team in this World Cup.

Pakistan vs West Indies
Friday 31 May

On paper, Pakistan look the much stronger side, but when it comes to World Cups, West Indies have typically had the better of the green caps with 7 wins to 3. I still remember the 10 wicket drubbing in Pakistan's opening match of World Cup 1992, and the 250 run massacre in World Cup 2015 is still fresh in memory as well. West Indies had Pakistan reeling at 1-4 then!

Chris Gayle is raring to go and the Windies can be really dangerous if their batting clicks. Nottingham is known for its belter of a pitch where England have already scored 444 and 481 in the past few years. The average score on this pitch is north of 340 in the past 2 years, so if the Windies get going they can bat Pakistan out of the game or chase down any total put up for them.

For Pakistan, the key will be to get Gayle early and unleash their spinners to keep it quiet. They will need to restrict the West Indies batsman to have a chance to win. Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim, with support from Hafeez, will play a key role here I feel. Pakistan's chances will rest on how well these three bowl.

My money is on Pakistan here. I believe the Pakistan spinners will win it for them.

Pakistan vs England
Monday 3 June

Even though England dominate the head-to-head between the two sides, in World Cup matches it is even at 4-4. England are coming fresh from a 4-0 drubbing of Pakistan, besides being the favorites to win this World Cup.

England smashed their way to 444 against Pakistan on this ground 2 years ago; however in their match 2 weeks ago, Pakistan managed to hold England till the final over in their chase of 340. That should give Pakistan some confidence but it will be very difficult to topple England.

It should be a win for England here with them totally out batting Pakistan.

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka
Friday 7 June

In 7 World Cup matches Pakistan have never lost to Sri Lanka and I see no reason why this trend will change in 2019.

This should be a win for Pakistan.

Pakistan vs Australia
Wednesday 12 June

There is no team that has a more dominant record over Pakistan than Australia. They have won double the number of games than Pakistan has. However, when it comes to World Cup, Pakistan have been quite competitive.

The World Cup record reads PAK 4, AUS 5.

Having whitewashed Pakistan 5-0 in an ODI series in the UAE earlier this year, Australia will be quite confident. With Smith, Warner, Starc, and Cummins in the side, they will be stronger too. Pakistan will also be stronger given most of the first choice batsmen missed the series in the UAE.

I feel Australia will beat Pakistan given Australia are out there to prove a point or too. Pakistan will find it tough against Starc & Co.

Pakistan vs India
Sunday 16 June

The match everyone is waiting for. Every World Cup this is the most hyped game, yet every World Cup all we get is a one-sided game. Pakistan have faced India 6 times now in a World Cup and have lost every single time.

It is like a curse. Despite an overall dominant position over India, Pakistan have never been able to get the better of them in a World Cup match.

I feel it will be the same this time too with India coming out on top.

With 2 wins out of 5, Pakistan now will be placed in a precarious position having to win all of their next 4 matches to qualify for the semifinals. Ofcourse, Pakistan will know no other way but to be in a position like this. A week long break before their next match, it will give them time to regroup before coming out all guns blazing.

Pakistan vs South Africa
Sunday 23 June

Pakistan have beaten South Africa only once in a World Cup match and that was in the previous edition in 2015. South Africa is also the only top tier team that Pakistan have victories against in recent times.

This match will be the start of Pakistan's resurgence in the World Cup with their bowlers firing on all cylinders and the batting continuing its good run.

Pakistan to come out on top.

Pakistan vs New Zealand
Wednesday 26 June

Pakistan have historically dominated the Kiwis in World Cup matches with 6 wins to their name and only 2 losses. Despite being a strong tournament team, New Zealand have always found it tough against Pakistan in a World Cup. I see no reason why this time will be any different, especially when Pakistan will be looking to continue their resurgence.

Pakistan will win this setting them up for their last two must win games for a spot in the Semifinals.

Pakistan vs Afghanistan
Saturday 29 June

Pakistan lost their warm up match against Afghanistan. And the previous time these two sides met, in the Asia Cup in the UAE last year, Pakistan just scraped through in the final over. But given the importance of the game and Pakistan's bounce back in the World Cup, Afghanistan will find it tough to get over the line again.

Pakistan will win this continuing their victory march.

Pakistan vs Bangladesh
Friday 5 July

They have met only once in a World Cup match, 20 years ago, also in England. Bangladesh shocked Pakistan back then. Since World Cup 2015, the sides have met on 4 occasions with Bangladesh winning every time.

These are the 5 times that Bangladesh have beaten Pakistan out of the 36 times the two sides have squared off in ODIs.

Doesn't sound all that good for Pakistan. This will be their last group match and a must win for a place in the semifinals. Pressure will be huge on the Pakistan players, but then it is situations like these that cricketers strive for.

With their backs against the wall, Pakistan are the most dangerous and on this day Bangladesh will realize that as well.

Pakistan for the win to become the 4th team to qualify for the semifinals.

My bets are on England topping the group stages, which will make it a repeat of the Champions Trophy 2017 semifinal with Pakistan taking on England at Old Trafford in Manchester.

As the saying goes, once in the final four, it is anybody's World Cup to win!

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

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