The Men in Green beat Oman and South Korea at the Asian Champions Trophy 2018, but failed to get past the Indians at Muscat, and will play Japan on Wednesday as they look to avenge the shock defeat which they suffered at the hands of Siegfried Aikman's side in the Jakarta semi-final.
There have been some noteworthy changes since then, however, as Roelant Oltmans will no longer be on the sidelines to spur Pakistan on, while the Japanese are without the services of several of their key players.
The Asian Games gold medalists played a Four-Nations tournament in Darwin ahead of the Asian Champions Trophy and finished last behind Argentina, Australia, and Malaysia but Aikman stated emphatically that his aim, at Muscat, was to give his younger players a chance to gain some much-needed exposure at the highest level.
As such, Hassan Sardar may have a simpler task on hand than he would otherwise have anticipated. Pakistan mauled hosts Oman 8-1 on Monday, a couple of days after being outplayed by the Indians, and are third in the pool standings behind India and Malaysia but have played one match less.
The Pakistanis have been impressive in patches, but have displayed by their performances at Muscat that they do have what it takes to challenge the top teams with captain Rizwan Sr. leading from the front with his probing runs. Aleem Billal scored a PC hattrick against Oman and can be quite a handful against Japan, and in the all-important knockouts as well.
The Japanese have had a couple of days rest to recover from the 0-9 mauling which was handed out to them by Harendra Singh's Indians and will be looking to offer significantly more resistance on Wednesday.
The semi-final lineups will be decided based on the results of Thursday's matches -- Pakistan will take on Malaysia while the Japanese play Oman.
For now, though, it will indeed be interesting to see if Rizwan Sr and Co. can avenge their Jakarta defeat -- if they do, it will act as an immense confidence-booster for coach Hassan Sardar and the Pakistan side ahead of the World Cup.
Here is how you can catch all the action:
Event: Asian Champions Trophy 2018
Venue: Muscat, Oman
Date: 24 October 2018
Time: 8:25 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2
Live Streaming: Hotstar
ALSO READArticle Continues below