Guide to the Pakistan National Cricket Team, star players and how they might perform at the Cricket World Cup.

 

World Cup 2019: Key info

ICC ODI Ranking: 6

Odds to win: 10.0 with Betfair Sportsbook   

 

Last World Cup

A pretty poor showing all round from the Pakistan national cricket team, finishing third in an easy-looking group behind India and South Africa and then being comprehensively beaten by eventual champions Australia in the quarter-finals after setting them a paltry 214 to win. A game best remembered for a fiery spell of bowling from Wahab Riaz against Shane Watson, though he didn’t actually get him out.

It was one of the weaker Pakistan sides we saw over the last couple of decades and the likes of Shahid Afridi and Misbah Ul-Haq, both in their mid-to-late thirties at the time, retired from ODIs after their exit.

 

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Champions Trophy performances by Pakistan National Cricket Team

 

Perhaps the best indication that Pakistan have a serious chance here at the World Cup is that they won the Champions Trophy in England two years ago.

A semi-final place would have been a decent effort in its own right but they did a brilliant job of restricting England to a low total on a slow pitch in the semi before doing the opposite in the final against India, batting first and putting a monster total on the board, which India never came anywhere near chasing.

Mind you, this was a bit of an exception to the rule because they were pretty poor in their Champions Trophy performance before that, crashing out in the Group Stages.

 

Pakistan National Cricket Team at the World Cup: Strengths and weaknesses

 

Strengths

 

Fast bowlers

Any one of Shaheen Afridi, Usman Shiwari, Hasan Ali or Junaid Khan is an extremely capable bowler who can exploit conditions where the ball swings in England. The nice thing is that they’re all a bit different with Afridi having the extra bounce generated from his enviable height, Ali being a fine death-bowler, Shinwari boasting raw pace and Junaid Khan the one who can make the ball bend around corners.

You will have noticed that Mohammad Amir isn’t on the list. That’s because his numbers and performances, as explained here, haven’t been up to scratch in ODIs for a while now. Take him to the World Cup yes, but don’t play him unless there are problems with one of the others.

 

Good memories of England

England was where the Pakistan National Cricket Team secured their two most recent successes: the Champions Trophy two years ago that we already mentioned and the T20 World Cup back in 2009. Of that T20 win, only Amir and Shoaib Malik are still around but plenty of the players from two years ago will have experienced what it takes to win in England. It wouldn’t be surprising if Pakistan fielded as many as nine players who played in that final against India in their first match in England.

 

Malik is Pakistan's longest serving player

Shoaib Malik is Pakistan’s longest serving player

 

Weaknesses  

 

Kings of unpredictability and inconsistency

 

As ever, Pakistan can be their worst enemies. World-beaters one day, pretty useless the next.

From batting too slowly to dropped catches, no-balls to sloppy work in the outfield, when the rut sets in they can lose to anyone.

Of course, the opposite can happen as well and when they’re on top they can put teams under even more pressure. But a poor start in any game and there’s always the possibility they fold like a pack of cards.

 

Pakistan World Cup: Players to watch

 

Key Player: Babar Azam

The natural successor to Younis Khan as the calming influence batting at number three in this Pakistan side, letting others take risks around him.

A more talented player than Mohammad Hafeez ever was and without the rushes of blood that the likes of Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal had more often than not, he’s the master of playing the anchor innings.

Odds of 26.0 for top tournament batsman is a very attractive price for a player batting at 3, averaging over 50 in this format and who is in no hurry when he’s at the crease.

 

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X-Factor Player: Shadab Khan

Pakistan are likely to go into the tournament with just the one specialist spinner in Shadab Khan, with Hafeez and Malik also bowling a few overs of gentle off-spin if necessary.  In just about every ODI game played anywhere in the world, the 10 overs bowled by the team’s chief spinner make a huge difference in terms of whether partnerships are broken and runs stemmed, or whether the batting side can accelerate the run rate; so Khan’s 60 balls will be vital.

Don’t dismiss his impact with the bat, either. He’s more than capable and sooner or later Pakistan will need a big knock from him from 7 or 8.

 

Analysis of Pakistan’s chances

Everyone knows how dangerous the Pakistan National Cricket Team can be when their tails are up, they’re well-organised and motivated. Their success in England will give them confidence and the pitches should suit them.

But everyone also knows how they can collapse when things aren’t going their way.

Their bowlers will enjoy themselves and the Top 3 in the batting should be fine but it’s the middle-order and lower-order that’s the concern and where they can’t compete with the likes of England or Australia. They certainly wouldn’t make anyone’s list of best fielding sides, either.

Their best bet is still to bat first and put pressure on opponents by consistently taking wickets when defending a score.

 

Pakistan World Cup Betting:

Prediction: Semi-finalists

Betting Maestro Pakistan World Cup Tip: Imam Ul-Haq Top tournament runscorer @ 41.0 with Betfair Sportsbook.

He hasn’t had a mention yet but Iman ul-Haq is far too good a player to be available at 41.0 for top tournament runscorer. Backing him at that price each-way with Betfair Sportsbook means you’d get paid out at a 1/4 of the odds (10.0) if he ended second, third or fourth on the top runscorer charts.

He bats at the top of the order, has plenty of patience and discipline and has a good year or so and knows what it takes to compile big scores under pressure.

 

You can back Iman Ul-Haq at a huge price of 41.0 with Betfair Sportsbook and you’re advised to do so before that price vanishes. 

New customer offer. Place 5 x £/€10 or more bets to receive £/€20 in free bets.
Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £/€100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange
bets excluded. T&Cs apply.

 

More Cricket World Cup tips and insightful content at Betting Maestro: 

 

India World Cup 2019 Team Guide

 

Pakistan Cricket: The secrets to winning the 2019 World Cup

 

New Zealand ODI Team might struggle at World Cup

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