Pakistan have always been one of those unpredictable teams in international cricket. One does not know which Pakistan team turns up during a game, but the Men in Green have to come with their A game against T20 world champions West Indies in the upcoming three-match T20 series, with the first match set to take off at Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
West Indies might have not been a terrific Test side of late, but their performances in the shorter format of the game have been stupendous. Most of their cricketer's style of play is more suited to T20 cricket.
Players like Kieron Pollard, Johnson Charles, Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine have been strong performers in the shorter format of the game. If these players get their act going in the first T20 against Pakistan, West Indies will have a field day.
West Indies might be without the services of the dangerous opener, Chris Gayle, but Charles and Evin Lewis are explosive players, who can provide them with flying start. The same was witnessed when West Indies faced India in the T20 series in US, and the opening pair of Charles and Lewis tore apart bowlers in the first T20, which helped them, later, to win the series as well.
Talking about openers, Pakistan, too, have an aggressive opener in the form of Sharjeel Khan, who can provide the Men in Green with an amazing start.
The left-hander will hope to score quick runs, and then Pakistan's experienced middle order, which includes Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed should consolidate that start and score big totals. Akmal's return into the national team will strengthen their batting line-up, but Pakistan batsmen have to be careful while dealing with bowlers such as Badree and Narine, who are brilliant in the shorter format.
Malik is aware of the tough task in facing the world champions, but he is confident that Pakistan can deliver the goods against West Indies.
"It is not going to be easy because we all know they are world champions. But yes, we are well prepared. We have got some decent youngsters and I think it's going to be a great battle between two teams," thenews.com.pk quoted Malik as saying.
"The cricketers are trying their best and even though we haven't been playing international cricket in our country, but still we have played against very good sides and beat them in their home conditions."
Where to watch live
Pakistan vs West Indies 1st T20 is scheduled for 8 pm local time (9:30 pm IST, 9 pm Pakistan time, 4pm GMT ) start. TV options and live streaming options can be found below.
India: TV: Ten 3: Live Streaming: Ten Sports Live
Pakistan â€“ TV: PTV Sports. Live streaming: PTV Sports live
US: Willow TV