Pakistan are a team that, when in full flow can produce some of the most spectacular performances. They are also at their dangerous best when they are down, when nobody is willing to give them a chance, when everybody has written them off. It is in these times that they find their hero, a player who single-handedly wrests control of the match or such a collective effort that it leaves everyone gasping for breath. Their openers, mirroring their team can be spectacular on their day but they are also self-combustible and can implode in ways that seem unimaginable.
He is almost 36 years of age but still grapples with the problem that so many other gifted players of his ilk suffer from, consistency. He always had the talent to score a quick 30 or 40 but always succeeded in throwing his wicket away when a big score was there for the taking. That problem has recently been less frequent in making its appearance but it sure lurks just around the corner.
Having stuck a wonderful half century that won Pakistan the first T20 international against a strong Kiwi side his form tapered as he could muster just 21 more runs in his next two innings.
As an experienced batsmen, Pakistan will be looking for consistency and fluency from him. He could have been a very useful bowler in India but he has been banned from bowling because his bowling action was deemed to be illegal. Since he does not have that luxury of contributing with the ball, he must make sure that he makes enough impact with his batting.
Impact Rating – 6/10
Ahmed Shehzad is another player who can be devastating on his day, but that day seems to almost never come. Having loads of talent and oozing promise at the U-19 level he made his debut a few years back but he has never lived up to the top billing that he came with.
He tries to bat in an ultra-aggressive manner but rarely does it seem to come off. He had a torrid three games against the Kiwis recently where he could muster only 33 runs at an average of just 11. He might lose his place in the side if he does not do well in the ODI games which will follow the T20 internationals.
I have always felt that if he could give himself some time out in the middle before going for his shots then he could be more prolific. But he always seems to be in such a hurry and as a result gives his wicket away playing a rash shot.
Impact Rating – 5/10
Pakistan will be hoping that at least one, if not both their openers can come off and give a good start. The impact of a good start cannot be understated particularly for a team such as Pakistan who does not have many big hitters in the middle order as well.