West Indies marched into the desert eager to start the tour in the format which they have made their own. However, the World T20 holders have looked uninspiring and out of depth against a resurgent Pakistani team under Sarfraz Ahmed’s leadership. Though the 3-match series is beyond their grasp, the Caribbean outfit need to lift themselves up if they are to avoid losing three T20Is in a bilateral series for the first time.
The major step towards that will hinge on finding a way to make their batting lineup more perceptive to the ground realities of playing on slow and low pitches at UAE. Following the 16-run loss in the 2nd match, West Indies batting coach Toby Radford had admitted, “When they (Pakistan) batted, they showed on a slow wicket and a big outfield that it's actually all about knocking the ball into gaps and doing a lot of running. I don't think it was ever going to be a game for lots of boundaries because I don't think it's that type of surface and that type of outfield.”
On the other hand, the Pakistanis could be keen on continuing their quest for white-ball revival with another solid performance. For a side which appeared to be slipping further and further into an abyss during the ODIs in England, a discernible emphasis on consistency should go a long way in sparking the much needed turnaround.
Venue – Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Date – 27th September (Tuesday)
Time – 2000 local/2130 IST (1600 GMT)
Broadcast – Ten 3 (Indian subcontinent)
Online Stream – www.tensports.com
Pakistan – WWWLL
West Indies – LLWWW
Having taken an unassailable lead in the series, the team management may look to rest a few of their regular players ahead of a long season with one logical swap being Mohammad Amir replacing Wahab Riaz. However, the prospect of securing a rare 3-0 whitewash could result in an unchanged eleven.
Among the four players yet to get an opportunity in the series, Chadwick Walton and Rovman Powell may find themselves in contention. Wicket-keeper batsman Andre Fletcher who labored to a painstaking 37-ball 29 should be in danger of retaining his spot.
Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (C) (WK), Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Sohail Tanvir and Wahab Riaz/Mohammad Amir
Johnson Charles, Evin Lewis, Andre Fletcher/Chadwick Walton (WK), Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite (C), Nicholas Pooran/Rovman Powell, Sunil Narine, Jerome Taylor and Samuel Badree
The last few T20Is at this venue have yielded totals in the range of 130. With another sluggish surface expected, another low scoring encounter might not be too far-fetched. But, the prevalence of dew should turn the toss into an extremely vital one as both skippers eager to bat second.
- Apart from a quadrangular tournament in Canada, Pakistan have never won more than two matches in a bilateral T20I series.
- Among all teams, Pakistan’s current win-loss ratio of 2.0 against West Indies in T20Is is the joint-best with South Africa. A victory will propel them ahead of the Proteas in head to head records against the Caribbean team.
- Pakistan’s T20I record at this venue stands at one victory and three losses.