Pakistan (9/1 – T20 World Cup outright) will be eager to show their quality at the 2021 T20 World Cup after disappointing in their last two appearances at the showpiece competition.
Pakistan are the third-best ranked nation in the world and will square off against Afghanistan (66/1 – T20 World Cup Outright), India (11/4), New Zealand (7/1), and two unconfirmed opponents in Group 2.
T20 World Cup Results
Pakistan were runners-up at the inaugural event in 2007, losing by five runs to India in the final in Johannesburg, before then landing the title in 2009 when easing to an eight-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka at Lord’s.
However, they’ve failed to go beyond the semi-finals in the last four editions and there is a degree of pressure on the players’ heading into the tournament.
Australia and Sri Lanka knocked them out in the last four in 2010 and 2012 respectively, while they have fallen at the Super 10 stage in each of the last two competitions.
Pakistan’s series with Sri Lanka in July and August was majorly disrupted by rain and they only managed to complete one of the four matches – Pakistan winning by seven runs.
Saqlain Mushtaq’s men struggled on English soil earlier in the summer, losing two of the three T20 engagements.
They did enjoy successful tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe in April, beating the former 3-1 and the latter 2-1.
Pakistan’s hopes of glory are likely to hang largely on captain Babar Azam (10/1 T20 World Cup – Top Tournament Batsman). The skipper has been an influential figure against a variety of oppositions and in a wide variety of conditions.
Since the start of 2018, Babar has made 1,736 runs from 42 T20I innings at an average of 46.91, boasting a strike-rate of 133.23 in the process.
Mohammad Rizwan is another that will need to step up, especially with the bat, if Pakistan are to reach the semi-finals.
Rizwan became Pakistan’s first-choice all-format wicketkeeper in 2019-20, but it’s his returns with the bat that have caught the eye.
He has been improving with every appearance and is a useful aggressor in the middle-order, averaging 94.00 with a strike-rate of 140.03 in T20Is this year.
As mentioned above, Babar, who turns out for Central Punjab domestically, will skipper Pakistan at the competition.
The 26-year-old is the number one ranked ODI, having surpassed Virat Kohli in April.