The 1992 World Cup champions and the holders of the latest 50-over trophy [Champions Trophy], Pakistan is one of the most mercurial teams in cricket. Led by Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan will return to English soil to continue from where they had left off two years ago when they won the Champions Trophy by beating arch-rivals India in the final.
There is something about the Pakistan team and English soil. Barring the 2013 Champions Trophy where they were knocked out in the group stage, Pakistan has been brilliant when it comes to performing in the ICC events in England over the past 20 years. While they ended as runners-up in the last World Cup held in England twenty years ago, Pakistan has won two of the four ICC events in England- 2009 World T20 2009 and 2017 Champions Trophy since the turn of the millennium.
Currently involved in a five-match rubber against England, Pakistan has named a strong squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Led by Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Men in Green, have a more than a sturdy opening pair in Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq. Zaman has already shown his penchant for batting on flat English pitches. The left-hander smoked an imperious 106-ball 138 in the second ODI against England to lead Pakistan's run-chase of 374 while Ul-Haq has also had an excellent start to his international career, averaging 53.48 after 26 ODIs.
The ever-reliable Babar Azam will spearhead the middle-order followed by the experienced all-rounders Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, and Haris Sohail.
One of the talking points around Pakistan's batting is whether they have enough firepower to take the team's' total past 330 or 340 and the exclusion of Asif Ali is at the heart of it. Ali gave a good account of what he can do when he hit a 36-ball 51 against England in the second ODI. Considering Pakistan's inability to cash-in and match the standards of modern One-day cricket, their run-rate of 5.26 is the fourth lowest of any competing nation since the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Since 2017, Asif has the highest strike-rate [132.80] among all the Pakistani batsman and despite his inconsistency could be a real boost to the Men in Green provided the slots into the final World Cup squad.
As far as the bowling is concerned, Mohammad Amir was the notable absentee from the World Cup squad following his lackluster form that saw him take just five wickets since the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, and Junaid Khan have been named in the preliminary squad while Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan will lead the spin department. The only slight concern for Pakistan will be lack of experience in the pace department going into this year’s showpiece event.
Captain & Wicket-keeper - Sarfaraz Ahmed
Batsmen - Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Abid Ali
Pugnacious opener Fakhar Zaman will be expected to top the batting charts for Pakistan in this year's World Cup.
All-rounders - Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf
All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez will need to contribute with bat and ball in order for Pakistan to go the distance in 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Bowlers - Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali
Pace bowler Hasan Ali will be a handful in English conditions that provide assistance to quick bowlers.
The 1992 World Cup champions will look to go one better than they did the last time the World Cup was held on English soil in 1999. In that tournament, the Wasim Akram led unit made it to the final before losing to the Aussies in a one-sided encounter at Lord's.
But since the turn of the century, the performance of the Green shirts' in the marquee event has been disappointing. Barring the 2011 World Cup where they made their way to the semi-finals, the Pakistanis were knocked out in the first stage of successive World Cups in 2003 & 2007 while Australia humbled them in the quarter-final of the 2015 event.
Here's a look at the history of Pakistan's performance in World Cups over the years and the respective World Cup winners on the right side:
Pakistan Cricket Team will start their campaign when they lock horns with West Indies in their opening fixture at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on May 31. Fans euphoria and craze will reach an all-time high when Pakistan face India at Old Trafford, Manchester on June 16.
At Betrally, Pakistan is placed sixth to 'Win 2019 Cricket World Cup' and outright odds are 15.00*. England is placed firm favorites to win the World Cup at home with odds at 3.00*.
For Pakistan, Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq are placed in the Top 20 batsmen that might score most runs in the competition. The outright odds in the Top Batsman for Babar Azam are 26.00*.
Pakistan has not been placed as one of the favorites for this year’s World Cup due to their vulnerable batting lineup, but cricket pundits certainly believe that they can go the distance in this year's competition.
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