Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar has backed Pakistan’s bowling attack to make the Babar Azam-led side win the final of Men’s T20 World Cup against England at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Pakistan’s success in the tournament till now has been fashioned by their new-ball attack, led by left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has found form after lacklustre starts on comeback from a right knee injury. Pakistan have picked 12 wickets in power-play, with an economy rate of 6.19 and averaging 18.58, apart from spinners playing key roles in middle overs.
“I’ll probably back Pakistan, because bowlers win tournaments and that’s where Pakistan, with the kind of bowling attack that they have, I mean four quality quicks and they have the wrist spin, and if they require they also have the option of a left- arm spinner.
“I don’t think they will use that option that much, but Shadab Khan with the kind of all-round ability that he possesses, the kind of attack that they have, with the reverse swing coming into play at some point in time, we’ve already seen that. I feel that Pakistan are slightly ahead of England at this moment," said Bangar on ‘Game Plan’ show on Star Sports.
With the bat, Pakistan’s opening stand of captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have been pivotal in leading their charge, either batting first or while chasing. They have also been boosted by the fearlessness brought in by youngster Mohammad Haris at number three and stability shown by Shan Masood at number four, a factor which was noted by former Australia cricketer Tom Moody.
“The interesting thing about Pakistan is that the impact that Harris has brought and the free spirit he’s brought to the team as a batting unit has been quite remarkable for a young player. He’s gone out there, from the get go, and taken the game on and if anything, the rest of the team has taken strength from that freedom that he has shown.
“So, they are very versatile with the batting order and you can’t underestimate someone like Shan Masood because he’s done some heavy lifting this tournament. He’s not picked up the headlines or he’s not striking over a 150, but he’s done some really important sort of partnership building as a middle order player," he elaborated.
Moody also backed Pakistan to do an encore of their 1992 ODI World Cup triumph over England at the MCG through the T20 World Cup final on Sunday. “That’s the beauty of history and the legacy of that team that Imran Khan has left for Pakistan. So, that’s really a chance for Babar and his team to leave their own footprint.
“It’s a different format as well than the 50 overs World Cup, so it’s time to get a 20-20 World Cup. It’s a chance for them to tread new ground and leave their own legacy and footprint in Australia."