Pakistan Begins T20 World Cup Quest Today

Pakistan Begins T20 World Cup

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LAHORE: Pakistan’s pursuit of a second T20 World Cup title starts today as they face hosts, the United States, at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas.

Led by Captain Babar Azam, who is determined to learn from past near misses, the team features a blend of experienced players and fresh talent. This marks Babar’s third attempt at leading Pakistan to T20 World Cup glory. In 2021, they narrowly fell short in the semi-final against Australia, and in 2022, England claimed victory in the final. This year, the hunger for a championship is stronger than ever.

Pakistan’s group stage matches include fixtures against India (June 9th), Canada (June 11th), and Ireland (June 16th). Key players such as Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf return to the squad. Veterans Mohammad Amir (2009 champion) and Imad Wasim (absent since 2021) are also back. Newcomers Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Saim Ayub, and Usman Khan will be making their T20 World Cup debuts. However, Imad Wasim will miss the first match due to medical advice.

Pakistan’s 2009 triumph under Younis Khan remains significant, especially after a heartbreaking loss to India in the 2007 final. The T20 format has evolved dramatically since then, with T20 specialists, high strike rates, and totals exceeding 180 runs becoming the norm. Data-driven strategies and innovations have also changed the game, and non-traditional teams like the USA, recent victors over Bangladesh, pose serious challenges.

Babar, a young talent in 2009, draws inspiration from that victory and his experience in the 2017 Champions Trophy win. His unwavering goal is to emulate his predecessors and bring the T20 World Cup trophy back to Pakistan. “I am extremely confident,” declares Babar, “We will work hard, give our best, and hope our preparations pay off.”

Acknowledging the unique conditions in the USA and facing new opponents, Babar emphasizes a “horses-for-courses” selection policy and the importance of adaptable players. He also commends the USA’s recent success and promises to respect all opponents throughout the tournament.

Pakistan boasts a remarkable record in the T20 World Cup since its inception. They have reached the final three times (2007, 2009, 2022) and the semi-final on four occasions (2010, 2012, 2021), showcasing their consistent strength. Their success rate of 60.63% places them among the top performers in the tournament’s history.

With a blend of experience, young talent, and unwavering determination, Pakistan embarks on their T20 World Cup journey under Babar Azam’s leadership. They face a challenging but exciting tournament, and their quest for a second title begins today in Dallas.

SQUAD: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan.

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