Monday, July 22, 2024

Australia chase history, Pakistan open campaign against USA


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Bridgetown, June 5: With the World Test Championship mace and the 50-over World Cup trophy already in their bag, Australia will look to hit the ground running in their quest to become the first team to simultaneously hold all three world titles when they take on Oman in their T20 World Cup opener here.
To accomplish the feat, the former champions will rely on their wealth of experience, with several of Australia’s greatest modern-era players, preparing for their final farewell in international colours.
The T20 trophy evaded Australia for the longest time but the maiden title in 2021 changed that. However, a year later, they failed to progress from the league stage on home soil.
However, Australia have no dearth of match-winners in their squad, starting from newly-appointed skipper Mitchell Marsh.
The all-rounder will be a key factor batting at No.3. Travis Head has been in red-hot form and was the side’s star performer in the WTC final and ODI World Cup final.
Australia might experiment in the group stage to find their best XI. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa will play a crucial role while left-arm spinner Ashton Agar is also expected to be in the mix.
The ever-reliable trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will run the pace unit.
Oman lost their opening game after against Namibia. While they did a commendable job with the ball by taking the match into the Super Over, the batters will have to be more responsible if they want to pull off an upset win over the mighty Australians.
Match starts 6am IST.

Pakistan look to put behind off field drama

Last edition’s runners up Pakistan will take on co-hosts USA in the day’s other match. While on paper, the Babar Azam-led side looks the outright favourite to win the clash, Pakistan’s recent form suggests that it might not be a cake walk.
Pakistan lost a T20 International in Ireland and then suffered a 0-2 defeat in England this week, not the ideal result before a global event. Before that, they drew 2-2 at home with a New Zealand side that was missing many of its World Cup squad members.
The run-up to the marquee event has been chaotic to say the least with change in captaincy, shuffling of the top-order and players coming out of retirement.
Babar was reinstated as skipper after Shaheen Afridi was handed the T20 captaincy for a short time. The pacer was offered vice-captaincy later but he refused to take it.
Babar and Mohammad Rizwan are Pakistan’s most consistent T20 performers but their strike rate has been a cause of concern as the duo has struggled to accelerate.
But if Pakistan is known to excel in something, it is their unpredictability. They can surprise their opponents and or implode any time.
They will bank heavily on their fiery pace department that features Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Amir, who has come out of retirement.
USA will be high on confidence after their seven wicket win in the tournament opener against Canada.
Match Starts 9pm IST.

PNG take on Uganda

The third match of the day fetaures Papua New Guinea and Uganda.
PNG put up a strong show against the West Indies. The two-time champions were put under extreme pressure by PNG bowlers.
Even though the Assad Valal-led side lost, it will fancy its chances in the clash.
Meanwhile, debutants Uganda crashed to a 125-run loss to Afghanistan in their opener.
While their bowlers led by skipper Brian Masaba showed stomach for fight, the batters completely surrendered and their fielding was also found lacking.
The African nation would hope to improve on these to aspects and register its first-ever T20 World Cup win.
Match Starts 5 am IST. (PTI)


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