T20 World Cup: Middle order sorted, Pakistan eye second World Cup title | Cricket News


For a side used to turbulent build-ups Pakistan look unusually settled before the T20 World Cup in Australia, where they begin their bid for a second title with a Super 12 clash against arch-rivals India on Sunday.
Sorting out a faulty middle order was top skipper Babar Azam‘s to-do list heading into a tri-series in New Zealand as the burden of scoring runs fell on him and vice-captain Mohammad Rizwan.
Babar can now breathe a little easier after Mohammad Nawaz, Haider Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed came good in New Zealand, where they beat the hosts in Friday’s final.

Image Credit: T20 World Cup
“Our middle order has tightened up in the last two games,” said Babar.
“When you get that kind of performance right before the World Cup, it gives the team a lot of confidence.
“I am confident that they will also perform well in the World Cup. This is a good sign for us.”
While Rizwan, the top batsman in T20 cricket, and Babar, who is ranked third, no longer have to worry about carrying the innings themselves, they still need to set the tone at the top of the order.
The 2009 champions must also be careful not to run out of steam like last year, when Pakistan finished the Super 12 stage undefeated but were pipped by eventual winners Australia in the semi-finals.
Spearhead Shaheen Afridi has returned from a knee injury to join the squad, which boasts a quality pace attack that includes Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.
“Pakistan has always had an abundance of fast bowlers and we currently have a very strong pace attack,” said Babar.


Image Credit: T20 World Cup
“Shaheen’s return strengthens our attack. Haris has improved a lot, both with the new ball and in the death overs.
“This is an opportunity to showcase our skill as a passing unit.”
Pakistan have no time to involve themselves in the tournament and get their campaign underway with a sell-out contest against India in Melbourne.
Pakistan broke their winless streak against India at World Cups last year and were also victorious when the neighbors clashed in an Asia Cup match in the United Arab Emirates in September.
“A match against India is always a high-intensity contest,” Babar said.
“Fans are eagerly waiting for them. On the field we enjoy it a lot and give 100%.”


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