T20 fever

Pakistan have landed on American soil following a 2-0 defeat in the rain-hit T20 series against England

By Editorial Board
June 05, 2024
The T20 World Cup 2024 trophy seen in this photo.— XICC/file

The ninth edition of the ICC T20 World Cup, currently in progress in the United States and West Indies, has been touted as the biggest T20 World Cup featuring a record 20 teams. The World Cup which got underway at a brand new, 34,000-seater stadium in the suburbs of New York on June 1 will conclude at the iconic Kensington Oval in Barbados on June 29 following 54 games across various venues. Some of those games have already been played with hosts USA beginning their campaign with an exciting win over Canada while Namibia edging Oman and South Africa prevailing in a low-scoring encounter against Sri Lanka. As expected, the T20 World Cup which carries a record prize purse of $11.25 million, has created a buzz all over the cricketing world but the event will really get real global attention on Sunday (June 9) when international cricket’s biggest rivalry will get revived at the Nassau County International Stadium where 2009 champions Pakistan will face old foes India, winners of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. It will be the biggest game of the World Cup attracting tens of millions of viewers around the world.

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Pakistan will begin the contest as underdogs against a rampaging Indian side, which has an enviable World Cup record against their rivals. Pakistan have landed on American soil following a 2-0 defeat in the rain-hit T20 series against England. Before the big game against India, Babar Azam and his men will begin their campaign with an opening game against a USA team that has been punching above its weight in recent times. USA warmed up for the World Cup with a surprise series win against Bangladesh and then showed teeth in the thrilling win against Canada in the World Cup opener. They could pose some problems for Pakistan especially on the drop-in pitch in New York which is in the news following the surprisingly low-scoring game featuring South Africa and Sri Lanka earlier this week.

There has been a whispering campaign about some of the team selections, especially that of out-of-form wicketkeeper Azam Khan but Pakistan will need to overcome any negativity to put their best foot forward in what is the biggest cricketing event of the year. The team will need to give its best against the USA and then go all out against India because a win in Sunday’s high-voltage encounter will give them the sort of confidence needed to win major events like the T20 World Cup. But to achieve that senior players like skipper Babar Azam, pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman will have to lead from the front while the younger ones like Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub and Usman Khan will need to give their very best.

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