The two most mercurial cricket teams in world cricket would face-off in the second game of the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The form of the two teams coming into the tournament hasn't been all that good. However, the Windies are re-enforced by the arrival of their big stars. Pakistan, on the other hand are on a losing spree. But still they are not being taken lightly by anyone due to their latent talent and the ability to come up with a stunning performance out of the blue.
When and where to watch
The match, like most others in the tournament, begins at 10:30 AM local time and 3 PM IST. In India, it would be telecasted live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 HD and Star Sports 2 HD. The vernacular channels of Star Sports bouquet will provide commentary in their respective languages. Hotstar will have live streaming of the contest for online viewers.
The Windies are coming into the game with a strong-looking batting line up. Chris Gayle was in devastating form the last time he wore the maroon jersey. Shai Hope's rich streak of run scoring could be the real key factor for them. The likes of Evin Lewis and Andre Russell are the other names that will cause concern to the opposition. The class of Darren Bravo and flamboyance of Shimron Hetmyer might well come into play also.
They will be up against a very skilful Pakistan line-up. Hasan Ali remains a clever, cunning bowler who gets the ball to do just enough to trouble the batsmen. Shaheen Afridi is one of the most exciting young talents in the world. The experience of Mohammad Amir may come in handy, even more so if there is swing in the air. If Wahab Riaz gets into the team, it will be a question of which version of him turns up – the aggressive Wahab who can rattle with his pace or the erratic one unable to control his line. It would also be a great test for Shadab Khan, the highly-talented leg-spinner.
Pakistan's batting, interestingly, looks more solid than it usually does. In Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, they have a very potent opening combination. Babar Azam, being described as Pakistan's answer to Virat Kohli, has scored many hundreds but seems too cautious and, at times, selfish. But his potential is undoubted.
The presence of veterans like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik would provide strength to the middle order while the return to form of Sarfaraz Ahmed is a huge relief for Pakistan. Asif Ali, with his big-hitting prowess may well turn out to be the x-factor but may lose his position to Imad Wasim, a useful all-rounder.
The West Indies bowling attack has been under severe pressure in recent times. What may help them are slightly overcast conditions. If that materialises, Kemar Roach might come into play and Jason Holder would also become dangerous. Shannon Gabriel's hostile bowling is probably required to trouble the batsmen if nothing else works. While Ashley Nurse is yet to become a prominent bowler, his performance in the tri-series Final has made him look quite dependable.
So, it would be a contest where nothing could be predicted. Both teams are capable of going from the sublime to the ridiculous and the reverse faster than anyone else. Let's see whose day it is.
Players to watch out for
Shai Hope: Hope was in Bradman-esque form against Ireland and West Indies. The challenge would be tougher against Pakistan but he seems good enough to perform against the best of opposition. Watching him bat is a delightful experience thanks the classy strokeplay he produces.
Babar Azam: While he has faced criticism for being selfish at times, Azam is also full of talent. His batting is majestic and if he bats with a little more positivity, he could be deadly.
West Indies: Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Shai Hope (WK), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (C), Andre Russell, Ashely Nurse, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi