Asian giant Pakistan and African (“chokers”) South Africa are also among the favorites in the World Cup 2023.
With a little bit of luck going their way, the two teams enough resources at their possessions to not only qualify for the semi finals but also appear in the final as well. Iconic Imran Khan led Pakistan won the world cup in 1992 beating England. Pakistan also was the losing finalist in 1999 when they lost to Australia at Lords. Strong South Africa promise to reach business round every time they participate but somehow or other chokes at the crucial stage.
Pakistan promised big in the recently concluded Asia Cup but losing badly against traditional rivals India and getting elbowed out by Sri Lanka could not even reach the final. South Africa in their recent ODI series against strong Australia demonstrated their strength and skills. They have some injury scare but otherwise they will be a formidable unit this year in India.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, Shadab Khan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Newaz. Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Junior.
For reasons other than cricket India and Pakistan in the recent past did not appear in each other’s territory for playing cricket. Neither they appeared in bilateral contests on neutral grounds. Pakistan was the host of Asia Cup 2023. But for Indian insistence of not travelling to Pakistan Asia Cup had to be co-hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Anyway, ice broke and Pakistan finally agreed to travel to India for Playing in the World cup. The contest of the South Asian giants at the world stage promises to be a blockbuster event.
Pakistan possesses the most exciting fast bowling unit in Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, and Mohammad Wasim Junior. It could be still lethal if Naseem Shah did not get injured in the Asia Cup. On a wicket that has some pace and bounce Pakistan pacers will rock and roll. Shaheen and Rauf swings and seams at pace and have lethal Yorkers. However their spin attack featuring Shadab Khan, Mohammad Newaz, Iftikhar and Salman Agha is not of the same class as their fast bowling unit. It is in the middle overs 20-40 Pakistan has some issues in their bowling. Otherwise with the new ball and at the death, they are deadly.
Babar Azam is number one ODI batsman. He is not a blaster but a touch artist. Rizwan is a dynamic batsman. Though Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq have not played any innings of quality in the recent past yet they are ranked among the top five of ODI batting. Iftikhar and Shadab Khan are also useful for quick fire 50s or 60s. Anyway, Pakistan’s success will rely of Shaheen and Rauf tormenting opposition batting and Babar Azam, Rizwan and the co giving them enough runs to defend. Pakistan appearing in India after a long time will be a great advertisement for cricket. Pakistan has every possibility of reaching the semifinal.
South Africa: Tenda Bavuma (Captain), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Cock, Reza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Henrich Klassen, Sisanda Magala, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Luigi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Tabriz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.
Looking at the list above any cricket lover has reasons to believe that this team if they play to their full potential should go all the way. In every world cup Protea promises but chokes at the crucial stage. In Rabada, Nigidi and Nortje South Asia possess a very high-quality pace bowling unit and have extensive experience of Indian condition playing in IPL.
We are told that Nortje and Magala are not match fit. Tabriz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are two quality spinners for exploiting some spin friendly Indian wickets. However, South Africans have some explosive high quality batting unit. Off course they do not have like Jack Kallis or AB de Villiers, yet Quinton de Cock, Tenda Bavuma, Aiden Markram, David Miller on their day can tear apart any bowling attack. In our opinion South Africa is the team to watch. If they field well, they will be a very strong contender for the semi finals in CWC 2023. Hope Protean do not choke as usual. It is not fair that a very strong team as South Africa (had players like Jack Kallis, Alan Donald, AB de Villiers, Shaun Pollock) has not won the World Cup even once.
BDST: 1232 HRS, SEP 30, 2023