Pakistan vs World XI: Second T20 Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Following a convincing win fewer than 24 hours, Pakistan will look to secure the series against the World XI in Lahore on 13 September.  

A three-match series that will cost the Pakistan Cricket Board up to three million US dollars to host will remain at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, as the hosts look to secure an unassailable lead.

The visitors, meanwhile, need to quickly negotiate the off-field fanfare and spectacle of international cricket's return to Pakistan - and orchestrate a resounding turnaround less than 24 hours after a poor defeat in the series opener.

Pakistan v World XI | Wednesday, 13 September | Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore | 16:00

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To Win Match
Pakistan 8/10 | Tie 35/1 | World XI 1/1

Pakistan
Pakistan proved a cohesive unit in the series opener and duly outperformed a jumbled opposition cobbled together based on availability and willingness, rather than solid form and genuine selection. The result was all but a foregone conclusion before the first ball was bowled - and the hosts delivered on cue. The same is forecast for Wednesday.

The first T20I saw Babar Azam typify the need for one batsman to score between 80 and 100 and the rest to bat around him, while the use of Imad Wasim with the new ball was predictable, but wise. The left-arm spinner's penchant for variations - and lack of pace - ensured an opposition top order intent on taking the attack to the quicker bowlers was largely thwarted.

Pakistan's superior fitness levels, again, will be a major factor. Their collective ability to outlast under-acclimatised opposition in the heat and humidity of Lahore was evident on Tuesday. While the visitors are carrying a couple of ageing has-beens, the home side have invested in several young bucks - and this is obviously reaping dividends.

The hosts need to be wary of, probably, a vehement counter-attack 24 hours later. The World XI won't likely meticulously plot and plan substantial improvement, but instead force a backlash through sheer weight of runs and wickets. This could backfire on them, but equally bring the hammer down on Wasim and company.

World XI
The tourists' over-reliance on Morne Morkel showed from the outset in the opening fixture, where the tall South African fast bowler lacked a genuine partner in seam. As decent as Ben Cutting, Thisara Perera and Grant Elliott are, at least one of them needs to extract bounce and carry at least similar to what Morkel managed.

The World XI's bench strength makes for slim pickings. Spinner Samuel Badree, all-rounder Paul Collingwood and batsman George Bailey are waiting in the wings, but there's nothing to truly insist on a change in the current XI. Collingwood, at the grand old age of 41 and without international cricket since 2011, could be a like-for-like replacement for Elliott.

While Pakistan boasted the longevity of Azam, not one of the World XI's top eight batsman scored more than 29, despite seven of them reaching double figures. This severe lack of conversion will need to change, quickly, if a big total in conditions Azam labelled as "slow and low on pressure" is to be achieved.

Tuesday's opener had a distinctly Pakistan Super League-esque feel to it and, if the World XI's contemporary stars  - Faf du Plessis, Darren Sammy, etc - can channel the selfish approach that sometimes characterises these sorts of global Twenty20 competitions, they might be able to fashion enough individual success to secure overall victory.

Verdict: Pakistan 8/10
The World XI didn't do enough to suggest they can turn things around overnight, while Pakistan showed more than enough to insist they'll do so again on Wednesday - and probably Friday, too.


Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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