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Cricket World Cup 2019, West Indies Vs Pakistan: Key battles to look out for

Gautam Kapoor
ANALYST
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252   //    30 May 2019, 21:36 IST

West Indies enter the tournament as the dark horses
West Indies enter the tournament as the dark horses

The West Indian and Pakistan cricket team are set to begin their sojourn in the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup on Friday with the two countries set to square it off against each other. The Trent Bridge in Nottingham will see match number 2 of the showpiece tournament square off at 3:00 pm IST on 31st May, Friday.

It’s a match that brings its way massive ramifications for both the sides. West Indies are coming off a humongous win against New Zealand, one that saw them pummel their counterparts to register a hefty 421. On the other hand, Pakistan’s lowly time in the trenches continued after they failed to get past Afghanistan in their warm-up encounter.

Ahead of the tournament opener for both the sides, we take a look at the key player battles, previous encounters and other factors which could play to be a decisive role in this match.

Previous Encounters

In the ICC ODI World Cup, West Indies hold a massive edge over Pakistan, having come out on top 70% of the time. The two sides have played in 10 matches till date with West Indies being in control 7 times as opposed to the meagre 3 wins for Pakistan.

Overall, this fixture has seen the two countries rummage against each on 133 occasions with West Indies’ initial incentive being snatched back from them. In recent times, Pakistan’s ability to defeat West Indies sees them win 60 matches in this fixture compared to the 70 for West Indies. We’ve seen three draws as well take place in the fixture.

Outside of their countries, the two sides have played 74 times with the equation hanging finely in the balance with the 40 wins for West Indies and 34 for Pakistan.

Key Battles

Chris Gayle vs Imad Wasim

The West Indies are renowned for the slew of heavy, clean hitters of the white ball they possess in their batting department and perhaps no one epitomises it better than opener Chris Gayle. Having announced that it will be the last time he’ll be playing for West Indies in the ODI format, the event is an opportunity for him to one last time showcase his exuberant abilities at the international stage.

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If he gets going against Pakistan, alongside Shai Hope, the two can form a deadly opening stand which obliterates Pakistan from the encounter. However, he will face some resistance against the spin of Imad Wasim with Gayle’s glaring weaknesses against the slower bowlers well documented. We saw South Africa open up with Imran Tahir on Thursday and Pakistan might consider going the same route to try and work Gayle around early on.

Shai Hope vs Hasan Ali

11 matches, all lost and handsomely defeated. The numbers for Pakistan ahead of the tournament couldn’t have been worse. And at the forefront of all their qualms has been the bowling unit, more importantly the pace battery which has been cleaned apart as easily as possible.

With Shai Hope coming into the event in mesmerising form, meticulously registering scores of 74, 87, 109 in his last three ODI matches along with a hundred against New Zealand in the warm-up match, Pakistan are at fear of being torn apart. If there is one department he struggles against though, it is the pacers with the deviating ball, shaping across or away from him causing him massive problems.

He and Hasan Ali have played against each other thrice till date with Hope enjoying his battle against the bowler. He’s lost his wicket just once to the pacer and if Hasan Ali continues on his wayward ways, Hope can go onto to pile on a big score.

Jason Holder vs Babar Azam

With the middle-order unsteady, Babar Azam at number three is an extremely important component of Pakistan’s unit. And having recently scored a century and other crucial innings, he has shown that he’s up for the job, Pakistan will be heavily relying on him to come good against West Indies as well.

If Pakistan’s bowling makes for a middling view, West Indies have historically fared better in the department. They’ll need Jason Holder to come in and bowl a restrictive brand of bowling against Azam who in 6 innings has notched up 514 runs against the side. This battle could potentially end up shaping the match for both the sides, such is the importance that it will hold especially in the middle overs.

Match Details

ICC ODI Cricket World Cup, England Vs South Africa

Date And Time: 31st May, Friday- 3:00 pm IST

Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Television: Star Sports 1, 2 Select HD1, Hindi/HD

Also read - Highest team total in world cup

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