(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 27 Sep 2023, 12:19 AM
When the Asia Cup began last month, Pakistan went into the tournament as front-runners to win the trophy. They had a terrific pace attack in Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Harris Rauf who could run through a side.
In the first few matches, their pace bowlers looked menacing and they were the team to beat.
But one bad game against India and everything went haywire. Their pacers went for plenty and their batters lost the plot completely chasing a stiff target.
Then what added salt to the wound was the injury to two of their top fast bowlers, Naseem and Rauf. Naseem is now out of the World Cup and it's a big blow to Pakistan's hopes.
After the Asia Cup debacle, skipper Babar Azam and the team got a lot of flak from the cricket-mad fans and the media.
Many critics even wanted Babar to step down as captain.
But chief selector Inzamam ul Haq backed Babar and gave him the same team for the World Cup, albeit without the injured Naseem.
Pakistan will leave for Hyderabad via Dubai to play their first warm game against New Zealand on September 29.
All the pundits who were backing Pakistan at the start of the Asia Cup have now written off their chances to make the World Cup semis.
But knowing the unpredictable nature of Pakistan cricket, it's a bit tricky to dismiss them completely.
If they win the first two matches against Netherlands and Sri Lanka, they will fancy their chances of upsetting India in the big clash at Ahmedabad on October 14.
But they have never beaten India in a 50-over World Cup match.
Only time will tell if they can turn the tide.
But a lot will depend on their batting. If it clicks, it will inspire the bowlers to put up a big fight against their great rivals.
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