Pakistan vs West Indies: First T20 Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

The West Indies kick their tour of Pakistan off with a T20 International at the National Stadium in Karachi on Sunday afternoon. 

The Windies head into this three-match affair on the back of a T20I series defeat to New Zealand, but a relatively successful World Cup Qualifier campaign, in which they lost to Afghanistan in the final but qualified for the tournament proper, regardless.

Pakistan's last three T20I series - against the Black Caps, Sri Lanka and the ICC World XI - all resulted in triumph. They beat the men from the Caribbean prior to those, too, and 11 months later are chasing a repeat success.

Pakistan v West Indies | Sunday, 1 April | National Stadium, Karachi | 17:00
To Win Match
Pakistan 41/100 
Tie 35/1 
West Indies 19/10

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Pakistan's lengthy stretch without international competition at home ended with last year's visits to Lahore by Sri Lanka and the ICC World XI, but this will be the first international cricket in Karachi since 2009. Almost a decade later, the hosts have a great chance to impress in front of their loyal home fans, against the twice-World Twenty20 winners.

The tourists, admittedly, have sent a depleted squad, but the opportunity to put one over them despite the absence of Chris Gayle and a few other stars is still a big one. A string of top performers in the recent Pakistan Super League have been rewarded with a call-up to the international stage after their fine form at domestic level.

Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and Shaheen Afridi are among these - and bring fresh edge to a squad lined with the experienced services of Shoaib Malik, Ahmed Shehzad and others. Left-arm seamers Rahat Ali and Usman Khan are back, while Imad Wasim and Rumman Raees are still sidelined by injury. While Pakistan are eager to manage Mohammad Amir's workload, a dozen overs across three matches shouldn't be too taxing.

Pakistan have never really been renowned as a solid fielding unit - and coach Mickey Arthur has all but insisted that any player slacking will be dropped. Outstanding ground fielding and catching will count for plenty against an opposition outfit that has invested significant time, money and resources into improved displays in the field.

West Indies
The men in maroon were far from convincing in the World Cup qualifier, losing to Afghanistan and almost suffered defeat at the hands of Scotland. They've since shed several of stars for what is ostensibly a low-profile T20I series, leaving Jason Mohammed in charge as Jason Holder takes a brief break from the captaincy.

Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin and Samuel Badree are the most experienced in the new-look 13-man collective, while Andre McCarthy and Odean Smith will offer options with both bat and ball. Chadwick Walton and Andre Fletcher, meanwhile, will bring knowledge of conditions in Karachi, where they played for Islamabad United in the recent PSL final.

This really is a look into the future for the Windies, who won't necessarily be willing to sacrifice victories for experimentation, but one surmises there will be plenty of switches in personnel and position across the series opener - and the two T20Is that follow. Pakistan will expect this - and will be ready to pounce and counter accordingly.

The Windies, understandably, have security concerns, but should feel relatively comforted by Sri Lanka and the ICC World XI's visit before them, albeit to a different Pakistan city. They'll also be mindful of a poor T20I record against the hosts, which has brought just three wins in one short of a dozen attempts.

Verdict: Pakistan 41/100
Reigning Champions Trophy title holders and currently atop the T20I rankings, Pakistan's recent limited-overs form has been really good - and they shouldn't struggle against a considerably watered down Windies team.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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