Pakistan Vs West Indies - Christchurch, 21st February 2015
Pakistan and West Indies will take on each other in this very important clash of Pool B. Both the sides have lost their opening games, Pakistan to their arch rivals India and West Indies to a plucky Irish team. The team which loses this contest will find it very difficult to progress to the Quarter Finals stage and hence this clash will be a keenly contested one between these two highly talented but temperamental teams.
Pakistan batting must pick themselves up after a shocking display against India. None of their batsmen played well in that game except Misbah and to a certain extent Haris Sohail. Pakistan must also decide how long are they going to persist with the out of form but highly experienced Younis Khan. They have the option of bringing in either Sarfaraz Ahmed or an all rounder like Bilawal Bhatti in place of the old war horse. Shahid Afridi must play sensibly until the last 7-10 overs when he can let loose.
The Pakistani bowling did quite well at the start with both Irfan and Sohail Khan keeping the Indian batsmen tied down but it was the middle and late overs which caused them headaches that day. Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah were completely incompetent against the Indians and on the small Christchurch ground against the big hitting West Indians they might again find themselves under the hammer.
The West Indies batting collapsed like a pack of cards in the wake of a storm against a disciplined Ireland bowling attack. Gayle and Dwayne Smith started slowly but just could not get going. Marlon Samuels must regain his touch that he has shown during the past year as he is one who can play Pakistani spin very well. Sammy, Ramdin, Andre Russel and Lendl Simmons remain highly dangerous hitters if summoned after the 35th over and can clear any ground with ease.
Chris Gayles battle against the towering Irfan promises to be a mouth watering one!!
The West Indies bowling was such a disappointing sight against Ireland. The team whose pace bowlers induced fear in the eyes of the opposition batsmen for such a long time was being carted all around by a big-hearted Ireland. The likes of Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor can crank it up and bowl with pace but can they be accurate is the big question. Holder must also bowl well as he is the captain and how he goes must affect the performance of the whole team. They must also decide if Benn is fit else they must rely on the part time spin of Gayle and Samuels.
Key Battles: Pakistan Vs West Indies
Chris Gayle vs Mohammed Irfan
Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy vs Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah
Pakistani Top order vs Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor
As I said above this contest promises a lot as there is so much riding on the result of this for both Pakistan and West Indies and these two will certainly give it their everything to come out on top. This is the battle between two of the highly unpredictable sides and this will add another dimension to this mouth watering clash!!
PS - The image is courtesy http://www.espncricinfo.com/