West Indies vs Pakistan in the ICC World Cup 2019 on May 31 (Friday) will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Live streaming will be available on Hotstar. The match will be played in Nottingham and will begin at 1500 HRS IST.
Just a couple of years back, Pakistan had stunned the cricketing world (as they often have in their long history) by winning the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in England with a win over arch-rivals India in a dramatic final. No one gave the Pakistanis any chance, heading into the final after India had hammered them by 124 runs in their previous meeting in the same tournament.
Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side will need to draw on the same inspiration when they begin the ICC World Cup campaign against the West Indies at Trent Bridge on Friday as rank-outsiders, much like their opponents. The current ICC ranking — Pakistan are 6th while West Indies are 8th — don’t tell the whole story about this potential explosive encounter.
The Windies are buoyed by the return of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell into their line-up for the tournament. Russell, especially, has fond memories of facing Pakistan after smashing a blazing 13-ball 42 in the two side’s last encounter in the 2015 World Cup.
The all-rounder is coming on the back of a fantastic season for Kolkata Knight Riders, where he smashed sixes at will. He carried the same form into the warm-up games, smashing 54 off 25 balls against 2015 World Cup runners-up New Zealand.
West Indies have set off the warning bells even before the World Cup can get under way by posting 421 in the warm-up game. Trent Bridge is a venue which has seen big totals aplenty with England posting 481/6 and 444/3 in the last three years. 500 will be their next target if Shai Hope and Carlos Brathwaite are to be believed.
“If you are asking me if we are capable of it, definitely we are," Brathwaite said. “However, in a real game you probably won’t have the depth in batting at 10 and 11 that we had in warm-up game. So you need to be a little real about the target.”
Pakistan will be wary going into this tie knowing that their bowlers failed to defend in excess of 350 in the last few ODIs against England.
“We will seek inspiration from our Champions Trophy win because then also we were losing and then lifted ourselves at the right time to win the trophy,” Sarfaraz told AFP ahead of the game in Nottingham.
“The boys are motivated and are eager to put these losses behind them and by playing in England for a month we are well prepared and you will hopefully see us doing well,” the Pakistan skipper, one of Pakistan’s only two survivors from the 2015 World Cup along with Haris Sohail, said.
Last Five ODIs
West Indies: WLWLL
Jason Holder’s side had mixed results in the tri-series in Ireland also featuring Bangladesh. The side though is bolstered by the return of Gayle, Russell and Carlos Brathwaite from their IPL commitments.
They lost the ODI series against England 4-0 even after posting impressive totals in all the ODIs.
Players to watch out for
Andre Russell: A lot of people believe him to be Windies’ X-factor in the World Cup. 510 runs in IPL-12 came at a strike-rate of 204 while a whopping 52 sixes. He has carried on this form into the warm-up games. On Trent Bridge’s flat track, Russell will be waiting to explode.
Pakistan: Babar Azam: If Russell is master-blaster, Azam is the master-accumulator. The young Pakistan batsmen is the fulcrum around which the Pakistan side revolves with an average of 51.67 in 64 ODIs with nine centuries already. Azam was in top form against England with 115 and 80 in the last two ODIs and also added a century in the warm-up game against Afghanistan last week.
West Indies: Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was the only injury concern in their squad after limping off in their rained-out warm-up game against South Africa. But he has been cleared of injury although he didn’t feature in the second warm-up game.
Pakistan: While there was a question mark over Mohammad Amir’s availablity, the skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has made it clear that the left-arm paceman is fully fit and will be available for selection.
West Indies: Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hasnain.