Will Pakistan sail through the semi-finals?

By: |Syed Ahad Hussain|


Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 5 wickets in their second to last round robin match of the World Cup 2019 at Headingley. Here the current scenarios post-Afghanistan match.

Fakhar Zaman is now averaging 24.7 runs per innings in World Cup 2019. He has a lone half-century, a 62 run stroke, which went in vain because it came in a losing ground against India.

We’ve known for a while that he may be an imperfect batsman but put up with him anyway because he got his side runs ─ although against frail challengers and on rather easy pathways, but he got runs nonetheless. When the only reason he is in the team fades away, the purpose of him remaining in the XI does too.

Opponents such as the lowest-ranked Afghanistan are supposed to be an easy target for him. Yet, he failed.

Come to think of it, Zaman has a history of falling short in tournament, but then even it out with big runs in low-stake bilateral series.

He under-performed in two straight seasons of the Pakistan Super League, he failed in the Asia Cup last year and he is falling short here.

Fortunately for him, Pakistan is not carrying any other high-quality openers and has no other option but to stick with him, especially this far in the tournament.

Unless Pakistan wins the trophy, Sarfaraz Ahmed will be let go. And the moment where he might have legitimized the captaincy was when he pointlessly pushed for an extra run and got out. When it was his dependability to play the captain’s knock, someone else stepped up.

That someone else battered the Afghan spin hurricane, set his sights on the one weakling and batted till the end to make sure that Pakistan came out victorious.

Imad Wasim is your early front-runner for the captaincy role in aftermath of Sarfaraz’s eventual departure.

Another who deserves all the acclaim he’s getting this World Cup is Wahab Riaz.

Batting with a fractured finger, the hard-edged veteran emerged with a late 15-run cameo that was vital for the win.

What courage he showed by playing with the injury and striking hard while those before him didn’t! If anyone is telling a hard-boiled comeback story, it is Riaz.

The writer tweets at https://twitter.com/SyedAhadVedux



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