Pakistani cricket team huddling during an international match. Pakistani cricket team huddling during an international match.

Pakistan on brink of elimination set to face Canada

Pakistan’s future at this World Cup is on the line as Babar Azam’s side gets ready to face Canada, less than 48 hours after their heartbreaking defeat against arch-rivals India. Their fate is already hanging by a thread, and a defeat in this match would ensure their departure. 

A second game in a matter of 72 hours would have felt a lot better had Pakistan not choked a straightforward run-chase. The momentum from that supposed victory would have been inspirational for the Men in Green to go past Canada. It has now become a do-or-die situation for Pakistan. On paper, Canada shouldn’t pose a threat to Pakistan, but the same was said for the USA, and it went south for Pakistan in the worst way possible. 

Canada, meanwhile, would be rearing to go. Saad Bin Zafar’s side already has a victory against Ireland, and had it been not for an Aaron Jones blitz, they would have been coming into this game with four points. 

Both of Canada’s bowling and batting have delivered in this tournament so far, but not exactly in the same match. The opening game against the USA saw the Canadian batters put up a massive total on the board, but the bowling attack could not keep Jones quiet. The second game against Ireland was not a walk in the park for batters, however, the bowlers turned up on the occasion and defended a small total. 

Pakistan’s opening combination will once again be in the spotlight. Mohammad Rizwan had a terrible outing against India scoring just 31 of 44 deliveries, and even though this might have been the intended approach, it was most certainly a disastrous one. Captain Babar Azam looked settled up until he guided one to the first slip in what looked like a complete brain fade. 

Canada will be banking on the Barbados-born Nicholas Kirton. Having scored 52 in the warm-up game against Nepal and a 51 in the opening game against the USA, the 26-year-old has shown the quality to perform at the big stage. The left-hander batter has the ability to make use of the dimensions effectively and on a slow surface, as predicted for the match, he could be the one to trouble Pakistan’s bowling attack.

Pakistan might just press the panic button and make some changes for the playing XI. Usman Khan looked clueless against India at no.3 which could mean Saim Ayun might replace him. No changes are expected in the bowling attack, which was brilliant to say the least agains India, restricting a powerful batting lineup to just 119.

The start of the match between India and Pakistan was pushed to one hour later due to rain, but no such happening is expected on Tuesday. The match is also expected to be played on a new surface.