By Ehsan Qureshi in Dubai
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Team Pakistan is fully motivated and focused for glory in the ICC T20 World Cup whose knockout games start on November 10 with the first semifinal between England and New Zealand.
Pakistan will be locking horns with Australia in the other semifinal the following day with a realistic hope of qualifying for the final on November 14.
Led by consistent batter Babar Azam, with a bunch of seasoned and youthful campaigners, Pakistan is just a couple of steps away from fulfilling the dreams of recapturing the crown after 12 years.
The manner in which the green shirts have performed in the league matches has been beyond expectations as they emerged triumphant in all five outings. The whole nation and millions of their supporters are now expecting them to bring home the title.
But things have changed in a matter of weeks and now they are looking the most confident of all participating teams, with five successive victories under their belt and being the only undefeated side in the league rounds.
If they simply sustain the momentum and avoid committing mistakes in the knockout games, they are all set to annex the trophy.
Babar, Muhammad Rizwan, Shoaib Malik, Muhammad Hafeez and Asif Ali have done wonders with the bat. It’s the time for the 2017 Champions Trophy centurion Fakhar Zaman to show his magic as he is known to be having the temperament to come good in high-voltage matches.
Shaheen Shah Afridi, spearheading the attack, is looking at his brilliant best and support from Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan can make things difficult for the opponents who will obviously be under greater pressure in the do-or-die contests.
A word of caution for the Pakistan team as well. They cannot be expected to take any side for granted. An odd mistake can cost them the title. As compared to league games they have to be more vigilant in the knockout games to prevent any lapse in concentration. Top quality fielding and catching can lift their bowlers which can prove to be the difference in closely fought encounters.