Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - The Pakistan juggernaut turns towards Namibia. Hasan Ali has the support - not only from me but the entire team: Shoaib Malik
Hasan Ali has the support - not only from me but the entire team: Shoaib Malik
After bowling what was supposed to be the last ball of the 18th over in the match against Afghanistan, Hasan Ali started walking back to his bowling mark. Probably, he knew even before the umpire had signalled that he had overstepped. Having conceded 20 runs in the over by then, his face had turned red and he was raging. Quick to pick up on that reaction, his good friend Shadab Khan came running to him from the long on boundary, only to make him feel relaxed.
Hasan Ali loses his cool quickly. And in a tournament where the rest of his teammates have displayed a sense of calmness, his disappointments are easy to spot. While his team has steam-rolled the opposition in the last three games to find themselves a win away from sealing a semifinal slot, his performances haven't been up to the mark. In three matches so far, he has conceded 108 runs.
In not the best way, his performances have stood out while the rest have covered up to maintain dominance across various passages of play – the mastery of bowling and batting in the powerplay as well as the death overs. While their fielding still had some shabby moments, there aren't alarming concerns.
Of all things good though, Hasan Ali's performance with the ball, remains a possible concern.
Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik though believes putting the microscope on the young pacer is nothing short of nitpicking. “It's not a big deal if you don't perform well for a couple of games,” Malik said ahead of Pakistan's match against Namibia. “We've seen him winning games for Pakistan. He's a fighter.
“I've known him for a really long time, since he came to Sialkot Stallions in 2013. He will come back on track. In fact, he's already on track, winning games for Pakistan. Not doing well in a couple of games is not a big deal. He's a match-winner and won Pakistan a lot of games in the past. And I'm sure he will win games even in the coming games.”
With two fairly easier challenges remaining before the knockouts, Pakistan would hope to see Hasan Ali firing. While the challenge against Namibia is expected to be easy, they wouldn't want to leave anything to chance against a side that has punched above its weight in this tournament. Moreover, Pakistan have been fortunate so far to have bowled first on each occasion, which hasn't let their bowlers bowl with the wet ball.
While the focus remains on the qualification chances of the member nations, Namibia aren't out of contention just as yet – with a win and a loss in two games. They have every reason to be motivated to give even the possible ‘favourites' a tough time.
When: Pakistan vs Namibia, November 2, 2021, 6:00 PM (Local Time)
Where:Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: With dew playing a part, teams batting first have struggled to defend the low scores in evening matches. Toss could play a role yet again.
Head to head:This is only the second instance of Pakistan playing Namibia in an international match. The previous meeting came in the 2003 world cup which Pakistan won by 171 runs
Injured/Unavailable: All the players are fit and available for selection.
Tactics and matchups: David Wiese and Gerhald Erasmus have been the two standout batters for Namibia. A lot will depend on how Shadab Khan is able to control them in the middle overs.
Likely XI: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Injured/Unavailable: There has been no injury update for Namibia
Tactics and Matchups: It has been the toughest to bat in the Super 12 phase with overall scoring rate under a run-a-ball. If Namibia manage to dismiss the openers early, they can sense a chance with the yet-to-fire middle order of Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
Likely XI:Stephan Baard, Zane Green (wk), Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus (c), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Michael van Lingen, Jan Frylinck, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz
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What they said:
“When you're playing a team game, it's not necessary that all 11 have to perform. In my entire career, I've never seen something like this happen. Hasan Ali has the support – not only from me but the entire team, the management and the captain.” – Shoaib Malik
“We are aware of the challenges. We need to make use of this level. This is a stepping stone for the future.” – Gerhald Erasmus