2021 T20 World Cup Team Review Time. Here is the complete dissection of every team. The best moments, analysis, stats, and what changes need to be made for each team to succeed in the upcoming 2022 T20 World Cup. Comment below on your favorite moment of this T20 World Cup and what you think about their prospects in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.
Australia—a name so synonymous to Cricket World Cups it is not even a surprise they somehow managed to win this one. Unlike most times, though, they were not even in Top 5 Favorites this time around. Even Bangladesh & Afghanistan were fancied more since Australia has lost their last 4 T20I bilateral series and were hammered 4-1 in Bangladesh.
Lots of good stories for Justin Langer’s group. A group of lovely characters, marked by Stoinis, Zampa, Wade, Maxwell combined with their star power in Warner-Smith-Cummins-Hazlewood-Starc deliver unlikely victory. Hazlewood’s accuracy, Zampa’s wicket-taking abilities, Warner’s consistency, Mitchell Marsh’s coming of age, Steve Smith’s boundary catching, and Stoinis-Wade’s finishing combined to make this a dangerous T20 side.
Now Australia has won everything—Women’s ODI & T20I World Cups, U-19 World Cups, Men’s ODI & T20 World Cups & Champions Trophy. Looks like life is all good for Australia and free of Paine…
Mitchell Marsh’s Dream Final, Matthew Wade-Marcus Stoinis Partnership, Cummins at the Death
Luck Factor (Or the Lack of)
Aaron Finch Wins All the Tosses
Starc 4-0-60-0 in the Final. Does he merit a place in the 2022 T20 World Cup Squad?
What Does Australia Need to Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
Home World Cup, expectations on them. No team has won two consecutive T20 World Cups or a T20 World Cup at home. Now, they have a good T20 core group from which they can challenge the rest of the world. The real question here is—Can Australia continue playing the same brand of cricket?
2. New Zealand 2021 T20 World Cup
New Zealand are the best all-format team to beat at the moment, aren’t they? 2 ODI World Cup finals in a row (2015, 2019), current World Test Championship holders, and now the runners up in a T20 World Cup. Just like Australia, not many expected them to get to semi-finals, let alone the finals. With an early loss to Pakistan, things did start positively for them. Credit to them, they strangled India, survived threat against Namibia, and continued on their marching way before the Neesham-Mitchell assault shocked England.
Positives? Mitchell’s inspirational promotion & Top 3’s solo performances (Mitchell’s 72*, Williamson’s 85, & Guptill’s 93, Southee’s economical World Cup, shining Boult & Sodhi (if we take out Sodhi’s final), roaring Milne in his comeback, and Neesham, who finally gets his revenge.
Negatives? Conway-Phillips-Seifert had been one of the reasons for NZ’s success in T20I’s over the past year, but none of them had a stellar performance. Conway played a crucial recovery innings in the semi-finals, Phillips (once a keeper) bowled some tight off spin and hit Zampa for a six in the final, but other than that, nothing much of note. Also Guptill’s 27 (35).…say no more.
Kane Williamson (216) Martin Guptill (208) Daryl Mitchell (208)
Highest Wicket Takers
Trent Boult (13)
Daryl Mitchell – the Opener, Neesham – the Finisher, Fielding Unit, Southee Reinvents Himself
Lockie Ferguson ruled out before the WC; Devon Conway injures himself by punching his bat after his semi-final dismissals; Misses the Final; New Zealand struggle early on and ends up on the runners up podium again.
What Does New Zealand Need to Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
New Zealand made it to the final on the back of good strategy and smart cricket. However, it is unlikely that this squad will succeed again in 2022 in Australian conditions. Do all three of Ish Sodhi-Todd Astle-Mitchell Santner fit in the 15? Does Martin Guptill continue or will Finn Allen be given a chance? Can both Adam Milne & Lockie Ferguson make the XI? Where does Tim Seifert fit in the equation? So many questions, less than 335 days, as Jimmy Neesham puts it.
3. Pakistan 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
Will Pakistan get a better chance? World Cup in the UAE, Babar Azam & Mohammad Rizwan in the form of their lives, bowling good as usual, fielding better than ever, Asif Ali finally coming into his own, and the 40 year youngsters Hafeez and Malik matching everybody else.
5 group matches, 5 different player of the match awards. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Asif Ali, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shoaib Malik. And the most runs of the tournament by their captain Babar Azam?
How did they get here? By completely dominating the match against India (via Shaheen’s opening spell including that ball to KL Rahul), completed a low scorer against NZ, crushed Afghanistan with Asif Ali’s 4 sixes, and brushed Scotland & Namibia by batting first.
Pakistan, who have been disappointed by NZ and England cricket boards, were writing a lovely beautiful story. However, just as in the 2010 T20 WC semi final against Australia, the story went off track. A left handed middle order batter finished it off with consecutive sixes against Pakistan’s best bowler. It was Mike Hussey Vs Saeed Ajmal 11 years ago. It was Matthew Wade Vs Shaheen Shah Afridi this year.
Shadab Khan (9) Haris Rauf (8) Shaheen Shah Afridi (7)
Haris Rauf’s death bowling, Shaheen Shah Afridi in the Powerplay, Imad Wasim-Shadab Khan’s miserly spells, Babar-Rizwan partnerhship, Malik-Asif Finishing
Hasan Ali’s Form Lose a Close Semi-Final After Winning 5/5 Group Matches and dominating 35 overs of the semi=final
What Does Pakistan Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
Although Pakistan were possibly the best team throughout this year, they will have to make several changes next year due to conditions. A 150-160 score may not be defendable, the bowling combinations might need to be tweaked, and some young aggresive batters like Haider Ali will need to be placed in the XI.
4. England 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
I have two points of view on this England campaign. One can say that just like Pakistan, it was an underwhelming campaign since they dominated the group stages and failed to finish the semi-final like the Carlos Brathwaite final 5 years ago.
On the other hand, England were already missing Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Sam Curran. During the tournament, they lost Tymal Mills, their best death bowler, and Jason Roy. The fact that they still dominated the tournament shows the marvelous depth in English cricket right now.
The positives? Moeen Ali’s all round package, Chris Woakes’ opening spells, Tymal Mills’ international comeback, Adil Rashid’s magic, Livingstone’s off-spin/leg-spin, and Jos Buttler’s century.
Adil Rashid (9) Moeen Ali, Tymal Mills, Chris Woakes (7) Liam Livingstone, Chris Jordan (6)
Tymal Mills’ death bowling, Moeen Ali’s all-round show; The Beast that is Buttler
Favorites fail to lift the T20 World Cup again; Tymal Mills & Jason Roy out injured mid-tournament; Morgan-Livingstone underwhelm with the bat
What Does England Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
Given Eoin Morgan’s batting form, he is almost nearing the end of his England journey although his captaincy was still top notch. Ashes is around the corner, and it is too soon to predict squads since injuries/retirements/mental health breaks are around the corner due to their grueling schedule. Malan & Moeen might stay, but Morgan might not make the XI if Stokes is back. If England can find depth & consistency in their death bowling (need to look past Jordan & Tom Curran), then this golden generation might have lift the T20 World Cup trophy.
Anrich Nortje was devastating throughout the tournament, even a sub-par Kagiso Rabada got a hat-trick, Killer Miller came back to win a thriller against Sri Lanka, Rassie Van der Dussen-Aiden Markram made huge strides, and spinners Markram-Maharaj tied down the opposition. The peak of their journey was the final match where they defeated tournament favorites England, and dented their confidence going to the semi-finals.
Nortje-Shamsi brilliant with the ball, Markram-van der Dussen brilliant with the bat, The Return of Killer Miller, and Temba Bavuma’s captaincy
Quinton de Kock & Cricket South Africa’s miscommunication and mini-scandal Failing to Qualify for the Semi-Finals on NRR again
What Does South Africa Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
South Africa need more stability in their middle order. The bowlers can defend middling scores in all conditions, but inconsistency in batting and lack of death is holding them back. They have a good core, if they do not get the Group of Death again, they will definitely be semi-finalist contenders.
6. Sri Lanka 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
The most improved and watchable team of the T20 World Cup. Sri Lanka was the only team in the first week to look a class apart. In the Super 12s, they began positively with an improbable chase against Bangladesh and pushed England to the edge. However, they never really recovered from their last over loss against South Africa.
Asalanka & Rajapaska were the pick of the batters, opposition had no clue for their mystery spin, and Lahiru Kumara’s aggressive attitude and speed took opposition by surprise.Wanindu Hasaranga is having a dream year, and he was one of the standouts of this World Cups, both with the bat and the ball.
Wanindu Hasaranga’s All-Round Show, Lahiru Kumara’s aggression, Nissanka-Asalanka-Rajapaksa form core for the future
Lose Steam Towards The End After Winning 5 Overall
What Does Sri Lanka Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
From 2015, Sri Lanka had been in grave transition. They finally found a group of players they can persist with in the near future.Hasaranga, Asalanka, & Rajapaksa defined this team with their positive brand of cricket. Finally opener Pathum Nissanka and mystery spinner Theekshana are really good prospects for Sri Lanka. If the seniors—Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, captain Dasun Shanaka, (maybe Chandimal & Matthews as well?) and the pacers Chameera-Kumara can come together, they might be the dark horse for the next World Cup.
Unfortunately just failed the direct qualification to the Super 12s, so have to go through the double qualification once again.
7. India 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
A tough tournament for Indian fans.
A dismal loss against Pakistan, a week long break, no intent against their WC arch-nemesis, New Zealand, and three spirited efforts against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia to boost their net run rate. However, NZ’s victory against Afghanistan ensured India was never really in the tournament apart from outside mathematical calculations. It was the vulnerability against left arm seamers and good fast bowling once again that left India on the backfoot against Pakistan & NZ respectively.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s control in the middle overs and the intent shown by KL Rahul & Rohit Sharma at the end were some positives for India.
Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja (7) Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami (6)
R Ashwin’s economical middle overs; Rahul-Sharma opening partnership (when they played with freedom)
India loses against arch-nemesis NZ; First WC Loss to Pakistan; Favorites crash out without a fight; Shami suffers social media abuse; Kohli’ bows out captaincy career without a title
What Does India Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
Revamp their whole squad might be a rash decision, but something out of the ordinary is needed. Although some bold decisions were taken for this tournament, more game time is needed for a new-look T20I team. KL Rahul & Rohit Sharma should stay opening partners, Suryakumar, Pant, Bumrah, & Jadeja should remain in the fray, but the rest is up in the air, especially for Australian conditions.
Does Kohli fit in or do India do what England did to Root? Ashwin has been good, but Chahal definitely merits a place back. What about the Hardik Pandya problem? Can India find batters that in the top 4 that can bowl? India have the players, but maybe it is a curse rather than a blessing in ICC tournaments for this immense depth.
8. Afghanistan 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
Afghanistan did not have the worst of tournaments and were in contention till the very last day of the Super 12s, but there is a feeling that they could have done better.
In these conditions, Rashid-Mujeeb-Nabi were devastating individually but could not all fire together. The openers gave them spark, but not consistently. Najibullah Zadran was in his peak for, Hamid Hassan was back, and captain Mohammad Nabi batted with responsibility. Muscular Gulbadin Naib had a decent outing, and so did Naveen-ul-Haq. The only team to bat first with confidence and defend scores, their change of strategies in the crunch game against India did not work out for them.
Post the Pakistan game, it all just fell apart. 4 sixes in a row prompted freak retirement announcement by senior batter Asghar Afghan in the middle of the tournament. They could not manage to upset India or NZ, which is all that was needed.
Mystery Spinners; Nabi-Najibullah late order hitting; Zazai-Shahzad provide some good starts
Did not upset any of the big 3 in the group—NZ, Pakistan, & India Tough close loss against Pakistan and subsequent retirement of Asghar Afghan in the middle of the tournament derailed their campaign
What Does Afghanistan Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
First they need to ensure no administrative turmoil. For the last two World Cups now, they have had captaincy changes right before the tournament. Afghanistan might be upbeat for next year since many of their players have BBL experience in Australia. All they need ais a couple of fast bowlers and Qais Ahmed back, and this team can outdo any other on a given day.
9. Namibia 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
The story of the tournament by far.
First time qualifying for a cricket world cup since 2003 and guess what? Not only winning one game but THREE GAMES! Defeated the European trio of Ireland (full member), Netherlands, and Scotland and got a direct entry to the 2022 T20 World Cup.
The middle order, led by David Wiese, was their saving grace but their disciplined bowling, led by Trumpelmann & Wiese, kept them in the game, even against the likes of Pakistan and New Zealand. Trumpelmann’s 3-wicket opening over & JJ Smit’s finishing heroics over Scotland was the highlight of their tournament. Kudos to captain Erasmus for playing the tournament with a broken finger.
Jan Frylinck (9) David Wiese (6) Ruben Trumpelmann (6)
Lower Middle Order Trumpelmann’s Opening Spells
None Really. Except for their opening game against Sri Lanka, they competed well throughout the tournament even against Full Members
What Does Namibia’s Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
If Namibia need to improve and go one step further, they need to add a bit of spice to their bowling attack. For their first 10 overs, they are good but need to keep opposition down at the death.Can they make it to the Super 12s again?
10. Scotland 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
Scotland experienced high highs and suffered low lows.
From 53-6 in their opening game against Bangladesh, a Chris Greaves inspired victory gave them victory over Bangladesh. They dominated the early groups with 3 wins in 3 matches. They nosedived with a 130-run loss against Afghanistan’s spin in the first match of the Super 12s and never recovered. Their only hope was against Namibia which they made a game out of, but still lost.
The bowlers came to the party, especially Mark Watt (1/19, 1/23, 1/23, 1/23, 1/22, 1/13, 1/20, 0/41) but their famed batters let them down.
Richie Berrington (177) George Munsey (152) Matthew Cross (135) Michael Leask (130)
Highest Wicket Takers
Josh Davey (9) Safyaan Sharif, Brad Wheal (8) Mark Watt (7) Chris Greaves (6)
Watt’s Economical (6.13) Consistency, Berrington’s Fifties, Fast Bowlers Accurate, Leask’s Power Hitting, The Rise of Chris Greaves, Matt Cross’s Commetnary Behind the Stumps
Kyle Coetzer & Heralded Top Order Suffer Collective Failure
What Does Scotland Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
Are Scotland’s golden era ageing or was it just the conditions? The good thing is they have qualified for the 2022 T20 World Cup by the virtue of qualifying for the Super 12s. They need batting depth and power hitters to complement their bowlers. Should still make it past the early group into the Super 12s next year.
11. West Indies 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
Well the Last Dance was not meant to be. Only one win overall, and that too by 3 runs.
Not only did West Indies not qualify for the semi-finals, they had a horrible time. Bundled out for 55 against England, they never really figured out what their approach will be. Go all guns blazing like Lewis tried or hang in there like Lendl Simmons? Gayle-Pollard-Russell were almost no shows, and Jason Holder as replacement (who should have been in the squad in the first place) was the only spark.
Akeal Hosein was the find for West Indies, filling Fabian Allen’s left arm spin shoe perfectly as were Pooran-Hetmyer briefly. It was good to see Bravo & Gayle having fun in what may be their last T20I.
55 All Out Obed McCoy Injury Lendl Simmons’ Slow Show Dwayne Bravo Retires Chris Gayle (almost) retires Horror show for T20 stars Gayle, Pollard, Russell Hat-trick Dream Unfulfilled
What Does West Indies Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
A completely rejig of the squad is needed. Hetmyer, Pooran, Lewis, Holder, Fabian Allen, Akeal Hosein, and even Kieron Pollard might stay but it is the end of the road for Gayle, Bravo, Russell? and Rampaul. It would be interesting to see if Roston Chase stays and if ‘rotating the strike’ will come into their T20 philosophy. West Indies of the 2010s changed T20 cricket with their boundary hitting but they need to move on with the times.
12. Bangladesh 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
Where do I even start?
I was a fan of the rising Bangladesh ODI team and had them as a semi-finalist possibility, but this team was a complete no-show. Expected to do well in spinning UAE conditions and after dominating Australia & New Zealand at home in dust bowls, this was a huge let down.
For the first time in recent WCs, the seniors did not stand up (Shakib in the first few games apart) which exposed the gaps in the rest of the team. The likes of Liton Das, Soumy Sarkar, and Afif Hossain have not really become consistent cricketers that Bangladesh needed.
The worst part was the last couple of games. Losing a WC happens, but giving up without a fight was truly disappointing as they were skittled for 73 and 84 respectively against Australia & South Africa.
Taskin Ahmed’s comeback spirit and Mahedi Hasan were the only positive.
Shakib Al Hasan (11) Mahedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman (8)
Taskin Ahmed’s Energy Mahedi Hasan Shakib Al Hasan in the early stages
Mahmudullah’s captaincy decisions Mushfiqur Rahim’s lack of form Liton Das’s Horror Show Youngsters Fail To Rise to the Occasion Mustafizur Expensive Shakib Al Hasan’s Injury
What Does Bangladesh Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
The next generation of Bangladesh cricket need to come in. Already the likes of Saif Hasasn, Najmul Hossain Shanto, leg spinner Aminul Islam, U-19 winning captain Akbar Ali among others have been selected for the Pakistan T20I series while Mushfiqur Rahim is dropped. I expect the Fab 4 to be in the squad in Australia, but maybe not a regular XI spot. This is the step in the right direction, but one year is too less for a T20I team to develop. It may take a few years to bounce back.
13. Oman 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
Oman will have mixed feelings from this World Cup.
First of all, they were wonderful hosts and made sure the tournament started off the right foot (beautiful background as well). After winning the first game against PNG comfortably, they would have felt they are almost into the Super 12s, but they let the tense game against Bangladesh slip.
Bilal Khan, Zeeshan Mazsood (5) Kaleemullah, Fayyab Butt (4)
Jatinder Singh-Aqib Ilyas Opening Partnership
Had a foot in the door early on, but could not maintain momentum; This was a good chance to qualify to the next round since all matches were at home
What Does Oman Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
They need to go back and qualify for the 2022 T20 World Cup. They need to make sure their middle order batters can endure pressure moments. Qualification cycles can be difficult, so we do not know if we will see them again. With Zimbabwe back in the qualifiers, it will just be harder.
14. Ireland 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
All was well and good with the world when Curtis Campher took 4 wickets in 4 balls and Ireland hammered the Netherlands. However, Sri Lanka’s big defeat rocked their NRR and a rising Namibia overthrew them as the ‘Associate giant.’
It was just destiny. Ireland upset the big teams 15 years ago to gain respect for the Associate nations, and now when they are a Full Member, a stronger set of Associate nations are beginning to upset them.
Josh Little the only positive for them apart from Campher.
Curtis Campher, The Double Hat-trick Man (or 4-in-4?)
Full Member Ireland seem to be regressing in T20Is despite strides in ODI cricket
What Does Ireland Need To Do For the 2022 T20 World Cup?
Ireland’s golden generation has ended, and it will take a while for the young guns to pick up but T20 cricket is just not suited to their styles.Probably the end of the road for Kevin O’Brien. Honestly, I do not see Ireland see improving much unless T20 franchise leagues start acquring talent like Paul Stirling and Josh Little.
15. Papua New Guinea 2021 T20 World Cup Team Review
Papua New Guinea brought the world to the Cricket World Cup. Although they did not win any games, their family-like spirit took the fans by delight.
The partnership between Assad Vala and Charles Amini against Oman displayed that these bunch of players possess a lot of talent if they are given the environment to flourish. Some good hitting at the end by Doriga as well against Scotland to keep the game interesting.
Pakistan Vs Australia Semi Final #2 Quick Review – Marcus-Matthew match winners for Australia.
Almost identical to the first semi final – 170ish score, team batting first starts slow & accelerates at the death. Bowls well in the second innings and takes out the top order before some recovery work and a cinematic finish from the chasing team.
Brilliant semi-finals these two games. Rarely do we get to see one close game. Now, we have seen two in two days.
Toss: Australia won the toss and chose to field first.
Venue: Dubai International Stadium, Dubai, UAE
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney & Richard Kettleborough
What Actually Happened – Pakistan Vs Australia
Winner:Australia won by 5 wickets
Scores: Pakistan 176/4 Australia 177/5
Player of the Match:Matthew Wade 41* (17)
Mitchell Starc (4-0-38-2), Adam Zampa (4-0-22-1)
Shadab Khan (4-0-26-4)
Mohammad Rizwan 67 (52), Fakhar Zaman 55 (32)
David Warner 49 (30), Matthew Wade 41* (17), Marcus Stoinis 40* (31)
Moments of The Day: Rizwan, Fakhar, Shadab Shine; Warner, Stoinis, & Wade Shine Better
Mohammad Rizwan had been hospitalized for two days. He had been in the ICU for 2 days, recovering from a “severe chest infection” but had a speedy recovery. At the beginning, Babar Azam was at his silky best, but poor Rizwan could not connect. He was struggling initially, but later Babar slowed down. After Babar got out, Rizwan 2.0 took action, ending at 67.
Fakhar Zaman was one of the two players in the XI who had not yet made a significant contribution thus far in Pakistan’s campaign. Today he was magnificent, especially against Mitchell Starc. To dig up yorkers with full swing bat at that speed is insane skill. He built on Rizwan’s knock and got Pakistan to a par score of 176.
The first over by Shaheen Shah Afridi was the best over of the tournament. First ball, beats Warner. Then, a nervy single. 3rd ball – perfect good length delivery to LBW Aaron Finch for a golden duck. The 4th ball was my favorite – swinging toe crushing yorker with the appeal of the ages. Unfortunately it was not given out by the umpire, and it was umpire’s call on review. Mitchell Marsh got a close one a ball later. Beat his bat and close to the stumps. Pakistan ahead, crowd on fire.
Then came David Warner’s time, a man under pressure by his IPL team who has devoted half a decade to. Having already scored a couple of fifties, he was on song today. Despite Shaheen’s wicket up front, he made sure the pressure does not build up. A brilliant 49 with a couple of interesting moments (look at the videos below).
Then came the finishers, Stoinis and Wade. Both have excelled in the BBL as openers, but Australia do not have space up top. Although Stoinis sharpened his finishing skills at the IPL, Wade was not a recognized finisher. They had come together earlier against South Africa to win a close game together, but this chase was a different beast altogether.
96/5 after 12.2 overs with in-form Maxwell gone. Pakistan has one foot in the finals. Wade was nudging the singles as Stoinis took control. 13 runs in the 17th over off Haris Rauf. Stoinis 38* (27), Wade 8* (9).
Then Hasan Ali’s over came and Wade fired 15 including a six. Got his timing back. Now 22 off two with Shaheen in, Pakistan still marginally ahead. Third ball, Wade hits it and is dropped by Hasan Ali. Next 3 balls,
Scooped for 6!
Huge six over – Magnificent (especially with Ian Bishop’s voice in the background)
Another scoop! Australia win.
Why not have a look below yourself!
For comparison, here is the Michael Hussey sixes a decade earlier in a similar scenario. Pakistan Vs Australis semi-final in the 2010 T20 World Cup Semi-Final. 50 needed in the last 4 and 17 in the final over. Hussey seals it in style.
Funny Moments of the Day – Feat David Warner
Here are two of the most peculiar moments you will see in cricket – (1) A double bounced ball (that was called a no ball) and Warner hits it for six, and (2) Warner walks…with no ultraedge.
Broken Cricket Dream of the Day: Hasan Ali Feels The Heat
Hasan Ali’s dropped got some harsh words from captain Babar Azam after the game and even worse, by the social media community. Some of his family members, especially his wife, received abuse and threats due to their nationality and religious beliefs.
Cruel world we live in. Broken dream…everyone goes through tough phases. Hasan Ali is a legend. He will remain one.
In any case, Congratulations to the Pakistan cricket team and Pakistan fans for the wonderful memories! This has been an amazing tournament for Pakistan, especially after the cancellations that came earlier (from England and NZ).
Matchwinners throughout, great fielders, and youth galore. Positive future for this team. Keep the hopes up.
Toss: Pakistan won the toss and chose to field first.
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah, UAE
Umpires: Rod Tucker & Paul Wilson
What Actually Happened
Winner: New Zealand won by 72 runs
Scores: Pakistan189/4Scotland 117/6
Player of the Match:Shoaib Malik 54* (18)
Hamza Tahir (4-0-24-1)
Shadab Khan (4-0-14-2)
Babar Azam 66 (47)
Richie Berrington 54* (37)
Moments of The Day: Babar-Malik-Shadab Demolish Scotland
Pakistan now have had 5 different Player of the Match awards—Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Asif Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, and now Shoaib Malik. Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam so far? 68*, 9, 51, 70, & 66. Highest run-scorer of the tournament, 4 fifties, and has not been their most important player yet. Wow.
Shoaib Malik has been playing international cricket for 22 years, about the age of several Pakistani players in this young side. Today, he showed the world why he is one of the best players against spin. Six sixes and one four as Pakistan scored 77 in the last 5.
Richie Berrington had made a 50 in the qualifying stages but an unbeaten fifty today ensured Scotland do not suffer a repeat of the Afghanistan game (Afghanistan had scored around 190 and routed Scotland for 60). Good knock.
Pakistan’s spinners were ultra impressive. Imad Wasim scored 4-0-17-0 and Shadab Khan with 4-0-14-2. Miserly spells. Tied down George Munsey for 17 (31). Strike rate of 54.83. The reason of this slowdown was brilliant captaincy. See the graphic below.
Broken Cricket Dream of the Day: Kyle Coetzer
Kyle Coetzer has been synonymous with Scotland Cricket for more than a decade now. One of the stars of the mammoth ODI victory against England.
Lot was expected of the captain but scores of 0, 6,41, 10, 17, 1, & 9 do not inspire much confidence. 84 runs at an average of 12, from which 41 runs came in one match. For a top order batter, that is way too low.
In any case, hope Scotland bounces better in the 2022 T20 World Cup, which they have already qualified for since they made it to the Super 1ws this time.
Toss: Pakistan won the toss and chose to field first.
Venue: Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Umpires: Chris Brown & Chris Gaffaney
What Actually Happened
Winner: Pakistan won by 45 runs
Scores: Pakistan 189/2Namibia144/5
Player of the Match:Mohammad Rizwan 79* (50)
David Wiese (4-0-30-1)
Imad Wasim (3-0-13-1)
Mohammad Rizwan 79* (50)
David Wiese 43* (31)
Moments of The Day:
Rizwan & Babar rise again. A 113-run partnership. They are now establishing an iconic T20I opening partnership.
Pakistan took more positives – Hafeez finished with 32* (16) & Hasan Ali returned with spells of 4-0-22-1.
David Wiese’s 43* ensured Namibia did not collapse for a low score and got 144.
If only they had restricted Pakistan earlier….
Broken Cricket Dream of the Day: Namibia Fail To Take Advantage
Pakistan had an uncharacteristically slow start. At the end of the Powerplay, Pakistan were 29/0, the fourth lowest of all time in T20Is, without losing a wicket. By the end of the 8th over, Pakistan were 45/0 with Babar Azam 33 (27) & Rizwan 12 (21).
Toss: Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first.
Venue: Dubai International Stadium, Dubai, UAE
Umpires: Chris Brown & Joel Wilson
What Actually Happened
Winner: Pakistan won by 5 wickets
Scores: Afghanistan 147/6 – Pakistan 148/5
Player of the Match: Asif Ali 25* (7)
Imad Wasim (4-0-25-2)
Rashid Khan (4-0-26-2)
Gulbadin Naib 35* (25), Mohammad Nabi 35* (32)
Babar Azam 51 (47), Asif Ali 25* (7)
Moments of The Day: Asif Ali Rescues Pakistan
Imad Wasim & Shadab Khan Disciplined –In Pakistan’s first game, Shaheen-Rizwan-Babar performed. In the next game, Haris Rauf-Malik-Asif Ali came to the party. Although Asif Ali was the man of the moment again today, Wasim-Shadab-Fakhar’s contributions could not be disregarded. Imad & Shadab combined for 8-0-47-3. Imad bowled well both in the pwowerplay and the middle overs, while Shadab Khan’s fielding at backward point was electric.
Gulbadin Naib-Mohammad Nabi-Najibullah Zadran string a comeback. Afghanistan’s fighting spirit was on show today. To recover from 39-4 & later 76-6 in 13 overs to push towards 150 takes smart, sensible cricket. In the last three overs, Gulabdin Naib just hit Hasan Ali & Rauf out of the park.
Babar Azam Slow but Steady, Fakhar Zaman Shines, Shoaib Malik Continues His GoodForm, and Asif Ali hits 4 Sixes in 6 Balls to Wrap It Up
Afghanistan had smartly held Rashid Khan back till after the 10 over drinks break. Immediately he made an impact but DRS saved Babar Azam. The next over Fakhar Zaman departed to Nabi’s guile. Hafeez’s wicket followed. Match in balance.
In comes Shoaib Malik and hits Rashid for a big six in his last over to reduce the pressure. Then, Naveen-ul-Haq drops Babar Azam. Pakistan in front.
Final ball of his spell, Rashid to Babar, bowled ’em! Then a wonderful 2 run-1 wicket (Malik) over by Naveen Ul-Haq. Afghanistan right back in.
24 runs need in 12 balls.
6, 0, 6, 0, 6, 6. Pakistan win. That’s All. Easy as you like it.
So many ebbs and flows in this match! Brilliant game of cricket.
Another impactful innings from Asif Ali, who seems to have turned a corner. Brilliant side to watch this, Pakistan. Good fight by Afghanistan as well. They should not be disheartened.
Broken Cricket Dream of the Day: Afghanistan Lose Another Close One Against Pakistan
Pakistan Vs Afghanistan is becoming a real rivalry. Throughout the match, passion and emotion was pouring from the fans and the players, but this is now the second consecutive close World Cup game between the two. In the 2019 ODI World Cup, Afghanistan had almost won before Imad Wasim’s heroics brought Pakistan back. Pakistan won with only 2 balls to spare in 50 overs.
Hopefully Afghanistan can bounce back and still fight for the semi-finals spot.
IPL is done, international cricket is back, and so is #BCDPredictions! Let us see how good the predictions of our fellow cricket fans on social media is.
We asked our viewers to respond with
So what do you say? Will we see any surprises? Are South Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan the dark horses for the tournament? How about rising Scotland? Any emerging players? Will we miss Faf, Tahir, Morris, Chahal, Narine, and more?
If you do not have enough information yet to do the predictions, check out these previews below.
#MostRuns: Buttler (may not be an Indian, cannot rule QDK too)
“…With Neesham, Boult, Lockie, Phillips, Kane, Jamieson all playing IPL advantage for them and not Pak…Guptill, Seifert, Kane, Conway, Phillips, Neesham, Santner, Sodhi/Southee, Boult, Ferguson, Kyle.”
“Babar, Rizwan out for less then 20 runs, then Pak may lose 99% if against NZ and India if chasing 170…For India, even after Rahul, Kohli, Pant Surya, Hardik, Jadeja, Shardul are there.”
“I feel having times like SA, Aus, WI, Eng in same group made Group B easy to qualify.”
Rohit-Rahul/Babar-Rizwan most settled opening pair
With India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in this group already set, this is a mini Asia Cup battle. In the preliminary qualification round, if Sri Lanka is ranked 2 in Group A and if Bangladesh tops Group B, we might see a potential 5/6 Asian teams!
This might not be named the Group of Death from the outside, but I think this group will be closer than it appears. Here is our team-by-team analysis—Most Balanced, Surprise Exclusions, In-Form Inclusions and Predictions!
Prediction:Rank 3rd in Group 2. In spin conditions, if their batters can put up a decent score, expect Afghanistan to surprise a few of the big teams.
Does Afghanistan Have It In Them To Win the T20 World Cup?
Another World Cup. Another captaincy change right before the World Cup for Afghanistan. Rashid Khan had received the captaincy baton from Asghar Afghan, but he has resigned on the eve on the World Cup since he was not consulted for the WC squad. Add to that the current political situation, and Afghanistan’s entry in the WC is not even guaranteed.
Iconic trio Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Shahzad, and Shapoor Zadran return after years of international hiatus. Fitness will be the key concern, but Afghanistan have a good mix of youth and experience. They are also guaranteed 5 games in the main draw.
Unlucky to Miss Out: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur (reserves), Washington Sundar (injured), Shikhar Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Natarajan, Khaleel Ahmed, Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Dinesh Karthik. If you want the list of all 75 players which form Indian cricket team’s depth, read this.
Surprise Inclusions: R Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy, MS Dhoni (Mentor)
Watch Out For: Trial by Spin—Rahul Chahar, R Ashwin, & Varun Chakravarthy can single handedly bamboozle most batting lineups. With Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel providing control, India might not have to chase large targets. Expect Ashwin in powerplays, Chahar-Jadeja in middle overs, and if he plays, Varun at the death.
Prediction:Rank 2nd in Group 2. Since this side has not played together, India might drop a game or two till they figure out their best XI, but should find momentum towards the latter stages of the tournament.
Does India Have It In Them To Win the T20 World Cup?
A well balanced side overall. Selectors have finally picked IPL as the standard for T20I selection and separated it from ODI players. IPL dynasty Mumbai Indians have six players in this 15.
Shikhar Dhawan was the highest scorer for India in both the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka and has been at the top of the charts (with decent SR) in the last two IPLs, but has still not made the cut. Bold move to cut Chahal but Chahar is the in-form leg spinner.
India have punted on spinning conditions and hence, exposed their fast bowling. Too much responsibility on Bumrah? Will we see a Sharma-Kohli opening partnership? Can India finally add an ICC Trophy after a decade of semi-finals and runner-ups trophy?
New Zealand T20 World Cup Squad
Spin Bowling All-Rounders
Medium Pace All-Rounders
Group 1 2021 T20 World Cup Squads: New Zealand
New Zealand Probable XI
Tim Seifert (WK), 2. Martin Guptill, 3. Kane Williamson (C), 4. Devon Conway, 5. Glenn Phillips, 6. Jimmy Neesham, 7. Mitchell Santner, 8. Tim Southee, 9. Lockie Ferguson, 10. Ish Sodhi, 11. Trent Boult
Average Age: 30
Unlucky to Miss Out: Colin de Grandhomme, Will Young, Finn Allen, Tom Blundell, Henry Nicholls/Tom Latham/Ross Taylor, Doug Bracewell/Hamish Bennett/Jacob Duffy/Blair Tickner, Ajaz Patel
Surprise Inclusions: Mark Chapman, Todd Astle
Watch Out For:Lockie Ferguson & Devon Conway. Ferguson’s KKR experience in UAE might come in handy and can Conway continue his dream debut year?
Prediction:Rank 4th in Group 2. Although a great team on paper, going against 3-5 Asian sides in UAE will just not be an easy task.
Does New Zealand Have It In Them To Win the T20 World Cup?
Interesting team selection this based on condition and form. Glenn Phillips-Conway-Seifert had solidifed their positions with a rich run of form last year. This meant that Will Young and Finn Allen could not break in the squad despite great T20I performances toward the end. Great depth in New Zealand cricket means several players had to miss out.
Colin de Grandhomme is the interestesting exclusion for me. If fit, he could have been devastating but Mitchell-Neesham-Santner-Jamieson have booked their tickets with a coule of good performances earlier in the year. Adam Milne unlucky to just be in the reserves because he is been on fire in the Big Bash and The hundred since his comeback. End of T20Is for Ross Taylor.
Pakistan T20 World Cup Squad
Spin Bowling All-Rounders
Medium Pace All-Rounders
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Group 1 2021 T20 World Cup Squads: Pakistan
Pakistan Probable XI
Babar Azam (C), 2. Mohammad Rizwan, 3. Mohammad Hafeez, 4. Sohaib Maqsood, 5. Imad Wasim, 6. Azam Khan/Khushdil Shah/Asif Ali, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Hasan Ali, 9. Mohammad Nawaz, 10. Haris Rauf, 11. Shaheen Shah Afridi
Average Age: 27
Unlucky to Miss Out: Fakhar Zaman, Usman Qadir (Reserves), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Imam-ul-Haq, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan Shinwari, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis (Coach)
Prediction:Rank 1 in Group 2. Should get through the group with ease before collapsing in the semi-finals.
Does Pakistan Have It In Them To Win the T20 World Cup?
Pakistan have opted for a young squad dropping all of Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfaraz, and Wahab Riaz. If the lower order of Imad Wasim-Shadab-Hasan Ali can consistently score some quick runs, Pakistan will be in good shape.
The top 4 do not have competition from others in the squad, so expect Babar-Rizwan-Hafeez-Maqsood to play with freedom. Shaheen Shah Afridi-Haris Rauf-Nawaz-Hasan Ali-Shadab-Imad-Hafeez make a potent bowling line up as well. Would have liked Zaman, Qadir, Faheem Ashraf, and one of the seniors in the 15 but overall, the squad is pretty solid nevertheless.
PSL finished its post-COVID leg of the tournament, and the IPL will soon have its post-COVID leg in the UAE ending just a few days before the T20 World Cup begins. The BCCI has even proposed a 10-team IPL or two IPLs in a year from next year.
Where does this stop? T10 & T20 leagues are popping left and right. Tournaments beginning, stopping, and resuming whenever they feel like. What is the result? Debatable rotation policies, career-threatening injuries, early retirements, and players choosing leagues over international cricket.
Champions League T20 (CLT20) was an intriguing experiment held between 2009-2014 that unearthed stars like Kieron Pollard. Modeled on European football, what could possibly go wrong when the best T20 teams in the world competed together?
Yet, even with such good intentions, the tournament failed—Cluttered international calendar, revenue shortfall, growing success of the IPL, and the initial failure of other leagues were prominent factors.
The strength of the IPL contract meant that if a player represented multiple teams that qualified, they would be obligated to play for their IPL team.
By 2013-14, it was evident that the Indian Premier League was miles ahead. In 2013 (MI vs RR) & 2014 (CSK vs KKR) editions, both finalists were IPL teams. In 2014, 3 out of the 4 semifinalists were IPL teams (KXIP). The domestic teams from Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and South Africa failed to get this far after a decent show between 2009-2012.
CLT20 catered towards the IPL, and that is why it failed.
Why is the Revival of the Champions League Needed?
Seven years later, it is time to rethink the T20 calendar. The Big Bash is now a decade old. CPL & BPL are 8 years strong. PSL is 5 years old, and even Sri Lanka, South Africa, and England have formed stable leagues.
Half a decade ago, there were just a few T20 specialists—Brendon McCullum, Brad Hodge, AB De Villiers, Yusuf Pathan, and the World Cup winning West Indies generation. Now we have T20 specialists everywhere like Babar Azam, Tom Banton, Finn Allen, Dawid Malan, Tim Seifert, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, James Vince, Alex Hales, Paul Stirling, David Wiese, Rovman Powell—talented players that do not make the XI or even squads of the IPL teams.
Last year, Trinbago Knight Riders were undefeated to their CPL title –12 consecutive wins. Imagine a TKR versus Mumbai Indians Champions League battle? Will be a cracker of the contest if it is a fair contest—Which team does Trinbago’s captain Pollard play for?
How Can The International and T20 Calendar Coexist?
Here are some possible solutions:
If the player is contracted by a national team, they should be obligated to represent their domestic T20 league in case of a conflict. Hence, Pollard would play for TKR instead of MI.
For a nationally contracted player, maximum of 3 leagues per year should be enforced. This would keep conflicts to a minimum.
Boards should accept responsibility and postpone the league till next year’s window in case the league is suspended.
This would lead to an interesting mix of international players in the leagues. Since NZ/Australia do not play much between June-October, players might choose IPL-the Hundred/CPL-BBL, while English players might choose PSL-IPL-The Hundred.
The Ideal Cricket Calendar
ICC has announced its tournament calendar for the next eight years. Each year, either a T20 WC, ODI WC, World Test Championship Final, or Champions Trophy will occur. A couple of months should be sidelined as the pinnacle of the international calendar.
Here is how the T20 calendar stands so far:
Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)
January – February
Pakistan Super League (PSL)
February – March
Indian Premier League (IPL)
March – May
Global T20 Canada (GT20)
June – July
T20 Vitality Blast
July – September
July – August
Caribbean Premier League (CPL)
August – September
Shpageeza Cricket League/ Afghanistan Premier League (APL)
September – October
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
November – December
Lanka Premier League (LPL)
November – December
Mzansi Super League (MSL)
November – December
December – January
Big Bash League (BBL)
December – February
If the Champions League needs to be revived, September-October is an ideal month subject to the dates of world tournaments that year.
The debate between T20 leagues and international cricket is over. The leagues are here to stay, so why not coexist in a peaceful manner? At the moment, everything is disorganized, so why not organize it for the greater good of cricket.
Champions League History (2009-2014)
# of Teams (# of Nations)
New South Wales (AUS)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
New South Wales, Victorian Bushrangers (AUS) Sussex Sharks, Somerset Sabres (ENG) Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils (IND) Otago Volts (NZ) Cape Cobras, Diamond Eagles (SA) Trinidad and Tobago (WI) Wayamba (SL)
Chennai Super Kings (IND)
Victorian Bushrangers, Southern Redbacks (AUS) Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore (IND) Central Districts Stags (NZ) Warriors, Highveld Lions (SA) Wayamba Elevens (SL) Guyana (WI)
Mumbai Indians (IND)
Royal Challengers Bangalore (IND)
Southern Redbacks, New South Wales Blues (AUS) Somerset (England) Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians (IND) Warriors, Cape Cobras (SA) Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
Pakistan recently played in South Africa (3 ODIs, 4 T20Is) and Zimbabwe (3 T20Is, 2 Tests). The South Africa series, in particular was memorable, with most games going down the wire.
Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Hasan Ali highlighted the tour for Pakistan, while Anrich Nortje, Janneman Malan, and Aiden Markram came to the fore for the Proteas. While the Zimbabwe were criticized for their Test match display, they were pretty good in the T20s, with Luke Jongwe & Blessing Muzarabani emerging as Zimbabwe’s stars.
Regis Chakabva – 146 runs (best of 80, 48.66 average, 50s-1)
Abid Ali – 275 runs (best of 215*, 275.00 average, 100s-1, 50s-1)
Blessing Muzarabani – 7 wickets (best innings – 4/73, best match – 4/73, 22.14 average)
Hasan Ali – 14 wickets (best innings – 5/27, best match – 9/89, 8.92 average)
Pakistan Vs Zimbabwe 2021 Test Series Stats
Pakistan had several memorable moments, while South Africa and Zimbabwe have some points to cheer about as well.
South Africa – Rising Young Team But Still Has Gaps To Fill
Pressure situations reveal the class of a player. Although Anrich Nortje only played 2 ODIs prior to IPL departure, his 4/51 & 3/53 in the middle overs gave Proteas hope. It was his 4 wickets in the 2nd ODI that stopped Pakistan from chasing the mammoth 342 score. Fakhar Zaman was left playing a lone hand as Nortje took out his partners. His wickets in the series? Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Imam-ul-Haq among others.
Rassie van der Dussen – nominee for South Africa’s T20I, ODI, and cricketer of the year award, he has taken responsibility on his own shoulder. South Africa were reeling at 4-55 in the first ODI before Rassie’s maiden century – 123* rescued South Africa to 273, a winning total in the end. Couple of other handy fifties on the tour as well.
The new look order does the job – ODI captain Temba Bavuma’s 92, Klassen’s 50 & 36*, Aiden Markram with 3 consecutive T20I fifties (51,54, 63) are positives. Couple of fifties for David Miller & Quinton de Kock with a 80 well.
Find of the tournament for me was Janneman Malan. Superb timing. 70 (81) in the ODIs and 24 (16), 15(10), 55(40), 33 (28) in the T20Is provided South Africa the starts. QDK-Malan-Markram is exactly what SA need to drive forward.
Pakistan – The Alis Rise to the Occasion (Abid, Azhar, Nauman, Hasan)
Pakistan Top Order a Class Apart in Limited Overs
We are living in the Babar Azam era. Except for the Zimbabwe series, Babar is having a good time, both with the bat and as a captain. Babar Azam overtook Virat Kohli’s reign at the top of the ICC ODI rankings. #10 in Tests and #3 on the T20I as well. Just the eighth captain in all of Test cricket to win four Test matches on a trot. Only Pakistani on that list.
Mohammad Rizwancontinues on his merry way. 74*, 0, 73*, 0, 82*, 13, 91*. These are T20I numbers. Amazing stuff. I do not really mind the ducks if you can play 4 match-winning knocks in 2 series. Rizwan has been Pakistan’s hero for the past year, performing in overseas conditions consistently.
Just like Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman has yet to scale the heights of his 2017-2018 season. With Babar & Rizwan already in red hot form, Fakhar slotting as an opener was questionable. He repaid the selectors’ faith in style. Chasing 342 in the 2nd ODI, Fakhar Zaman scored possibly the best ODI knock in a losing cause—193 (155) (with 10 sixes), only to be run-out due to QDK’s guile. Until the 99th over of the match, it was anyone’s game. Followed this epic with a 101 in the very next game and 60 in a T20I.
Age is just a number
Abid Ali (33), Nauman Ali (34), Fawad Alam (35), Azhar Ali (36), and Tabish Khan (36) all came to the party in the Zimbabwe Test series.
Azhar Ali (126) and Abid Ali (215) combined for a magnificent 236-run partnership in the 2nd Test, batting Zimbabwe out of the match.
Fawad Alamis making each and every series count. Since his return, he has made a century in New Zealand (102), South Africa (109), and Zimbabwe (140). He has converted all of his four 50+ scores into centuries. Brilliant stuff.
Tabish Khan became the second oldest debutant for Pakistan. After toiling in domestic cricket for 19 years and after 598 wickets, Tabish finally received the international cap at the age of 36.Wicket in the first over as well.
The Test Bowling Unit Makes a Mark
Shaheen Shah Afridi, Nauman Ali, and Hasan Ali each took five-fors in the Zimbabwe Test Series.
Nauman, the left-arm orthodox, ended with figures of 5-86 to end Zimbabwe’s resistance in the final innings of the 2nd Test. Handy 97 (143) as well as a #9 batsman, combining for a 169-run partnership with Abid Ali.
Find of the victorious 2017 Champions Trophy campaign, Hasan Ali had a slight blip in his rising career. After a couple of years on the sideline and fighting back with a strong domestic performance, the energizer is back! Hasan Ali has been a revelation on his comeback – Most wickets for Pakistan in the SA T20I series and the Zimbabwe Test series. Truly deserved the Player of the Series award in the Zimbabwe series (4/53, 5/36, 5/27).
Take Shaheen lightly at your own peril. Opening bowler, death bowler, can do everything. 6 wickets in the SA ODIs and 3 in the T20Is, and figures of 4/43 & 5/52 versus Zimbabwe.
Imran Buttcaught the attention of many as well. His 91 (236) set the tone in the Zimbabwe Test series. Five catches in the slips a pretty good job done as well.
Zimbabwe – Injuries, Memorable T20I Win, Humiliating Test Loss
Blessing Muzarabani has the height, pace, and bounce. At 24, he is one of Zimbabwe’s future stars. In a one-sided Test series, his 4/73 and 3/82 was quite a highlight. Babar Azam – 0(1) & 2 (8), Fawad Alam (140) , Azhar Ali (126) among his seven scalps.
Luke Jongwe was Zimbabwe’s hero in the 2nd T20I. Pakistan lost their way on a 119-run chase, bowled-out for 99. Jongwe’s figures? 3.5-0-18-4. 30* & 2/24 in the first T20I and 3/37 in the final match sums up a great series for Jongwe.
Sikander Raza was diagnosed of a bone-marrow infection operation (initially a cancer scare) and underwent a surgery. Raza was dearly missed with Brendan Taylor out of form and injury-list of Kyle Jarvis (COVID-19, malaria, tick bite fever), Sean Williams (sick), Craig Ervine (calf injury), Prince Masvaure, Wesley Madhevere,, & Tendai Chatara.
Ryan Burl Makes The Headlines
1. Ryan Burl exposes disparity between top nations and less-funded teams.
2. After social media outrage, Burl found a sponsor.
Squad Predictions for T20I World Cup
With 23-men squad for the T20I world possible now, here are my early squad predictions. Based on this Pakistan tour of Africa 2021, here is our early predictions:
Babar Azam (C), 2. Mohammad Rizwan (WK), 3. Fakhar Zaman, 4. Haider Ali, 5. Mohammad Hafeez, 6. Shadab Khan, 7. Faheem Ashraf, 8. Hasan Ali, 9. Haris Rauf, 10. Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11. Usman Qadir
Squad: 12. Imad Wasim, 13. Mohammad Hasnain, 14. Mohammad Nawaz, 15. Sarfaraz Ahmed (WK), 16. Sharjeel Khan, 17. Naseem Shah, 18. Imam-ul-Haq, 19. Danish Aziz, 20. Arshad Iqbal, 21. Zahid Mahmood, 22. Khusdil Shah/Hussain Talat/Asif Ali (lower order finisher), 23. Iftikhar Ahmed/Shoaib Malik
Wildcard: Sohail Tanvir, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Wasim, Mohammad Musa/Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir (rumors has it he applied for UK passport in order to be available for the IPL)
Since Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2021 T20 World Cup, we will not be looking into their squads.
Returns of Fakhar Zaman & Hasan Ali
Broken Cricket Dream
AB De Villiers Retires. Like Actually
Mohammad Amir applies for British citizenship
Brendon Taylor’s form Short Test Matches Sikander Raza
Pakistan tour of Africa 2021 – The Awards
Where Do They Go From Here?
Lots of cricket action coming up!
South Africa head to the Caribbean for 2 Tests & 5 T20Is against the West Indies in June.
Pakistan tour England for 3 ODIs & 3 T20Is in July, followed by 5 T20Is & 2 Tests against the West Indies. There is a Pakistan Super League resumption in the UAE somewhere in the middle as well (if it gets finalized).
While the IPL is in full swing in India, the Pakistan-South Africa series is catching the attention of many.
In the 3rd T20I, Pakistan chased down 204 runs with 9 wickets & 2 overs to spare, courtesy a 197-run partnership from Mohammad Rizwan & Babar Azam, who scored 122 (59). Earlier in the day, news broke that Azam also dethroned Virat Kohli as the #1 ICC ODI batsman after a mammoth 1258 days.
Add Fakhar Zaman’s brilliant 193 in the ODI series, Hafeez’s second coming, & the fast bowling line up, the question should be asked—Is the IPL really the best T20 tournament without Pakistani players?
The Fall of Pakistan Cricket
Pakistan dominated the Indo-Pak cricket rivalry in the 1990s, while India has crushed it in the 2010s. Only in the 2000s, did we have battle of equals.
For India’s tenacious Rahul Dravid, Pakistan had Younis Khan. Similarly, the elegance of Yousuf & Tendulkar, stability of Inzamam & Laxman/Ganguly, & exuberance of Afridi & Sehwag were on par with each other. The destructiveness of Shoaib Akhtar-Asif-Sami on one side matched the abilities of Irfan Pathan-Zaheer Khan-Kumble-Harbhajan on the other.
India narrowly won the 2004 Test series 2-1 & ODI series 3-2 held in Pakistan. Pakistan returned the favor next year with a 1-1 drawn Test series & 4-2 ODI victory held in India. Both memorable events.
Hence, the struggle of Pakistan cricket team over the last decade & lack of competitiveness in recent ICC tournaments has been disheartening. The new generation of Pakistan cricket is slowly making this a battle of equals again.
The New Generation of Pakistan Cricket Rises
Mohammad Rizwan is currently the best T20I batsman in the world (sorry Dawid Malan). Shaheen Shah Afridi can compete with the Rabadas & Bumrahs of the world. The leg spin of Shadab Khan & Usman Qadir with a line up of Afridi-Naseem Shah-Hasan Ali-Haris Rauf can send shivers down the opposition camp.
Babar Azam is the best player in the world. Period.
Each IPL team can benefit from Haider Ali & Faheem Ashraf’s power, experience of Mohammad Hafeez & Shoaib Malik, and the pace of discarded Mohammad Amir & Mohammad Hasnain.
“Imagine Babar-Kohli opening for RCB, Fakhar-Rohit hitting double centuries, & Bumrah-Shaheen bowling together at the death.”
With South African, Sri Lankan, & West Indian foreign contingent in the prime of their careers from 2007-2017, absence of Pakistani players in the IPL made sense.
It no longer does.
South Africa & Sri Lanka’s Eternal Transition Period
Kumar Sangakkara & Mahela Jayawardene once used to captain IPL teams. They are now the only Sri Lankan representation in IPL 2021 (as coaches) as no SL players were picked in the auction. Gone is the era of Malinga-Murali-Dilshan.
With an eternal transition process in South Africa, only Rabada-Nortje (and Ngidi to a certain extent) have risen to the occasion. Otherwise, AB De Villiers & Faf Du Plessis from an earlier generation are still carrying the South Africa baton. Similarly, lots of West Indians in the IPL are from the World Cup winning generation (Gayle, Narine, Pollard, Russell).
The lack of variety in foreign talent is hitting the brand of the IPL. It seems that only India & England are producing new talent year in & year out, with Australia & New Zealand close behind.
It is time for some more talent to flow in—Pakistani talent that is. On the flip side, BCCI’s reluctance to let Indians play abroad should also be reconsidered, but that is a story for another day.
Looking Back to IPL 2008
The inception of the tournament in 2008 is the perfect template to follow.
Rajasthan Royals benefitted from having Pakistan talent in their squad with Kamral Akmal, Younis Khan, & most importantly Sohail Tanvir, the maiden purple cap winner. The Knight Riders enjoyed the pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar & Umar Gul, who took a match-winning 4-fer. KKR also had Salman Butt & the ageless Mohammad Hafeez in their ranks.
Few others participated in the IPL as well—Shahid Afridi (Deccan Chargers), Shoaib Malik & Mohammad Asif (Delhi Daredevils), & Misbah-ul-Haq (Royal Challengers Bangalore).
IPL 2020 Was Ideal But There Is Still Time
IPL 2020 was the best opportunity for adding Pakistani players to the IPL auctions. The world was struggling from a pandemic, and the tournament was taking place at Pakistan’s adopted home ground, the UAE.
What better time to get Pakistan players in? Unfortunately, that did not happen.
There is still time.
Babar is 26, Rizwan 28, & Amir 29. It would be great to watch Mohammad Amir versus Virat Kohli once again, and there is enough love across the border to make it happen.