KARACHI: Noting that the Babar Azam-led team possesses enough bowling strength, former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal on Saturday said the greenshirts should look to take early wickets against England in the T20 World Cup final at the MCG.

“The best option for Pakistan is to get England [openers] out quickly… preferably in the power play overs. To do that we have quality bowlers. If we fail to get them out early, England can either post a big total or chase a huge score,” Asif said while talking to Dawn from England.

Asif, when asked should Babar open today, or in-form Mohammad Haris or any out-and-out hitter should be promoted to open to score quickly in power play, emphasised Babar should continue with the job.

“No reason why the batting order needs to be changed. With Babar-Rizwan combination we managed to reach the finals, so why tamper with the batting order,” Asif added.

‘TAKE IT AS A ROUTINE GAME’

Meanwhile, former Pakistan batter Ijaz Ahmed advised Pakistan to take today’s decider as a normal game.

“Our team at the MCG today should play just as they did in the other World Cup games without taking any sort of pressure of a final,” Ijaz told Dawn on Saturday.

He continued, “This Pakistan team has more or less faced the same situation which we underwent in the 1992 World Cup,” Ijaz, who himself was a member of that triumphant 1992 World Cup playing XI, remarked when asked to give his views on today’s final.

“Our morale was down after losing [many] games early in the event but then we clicked and with some luck went on to win the Cup.

“The pace and rhythm is now with this Pakistan team after reaching the final which at one stage looked almost impossible. They now look a completely different outfit from what they were earlier.”

However, Ijaz said beating the present England side whom he termed very strong would stretch Pakistan to the fullest.

“England without some of their frontline players have beaten Pakistan [in Pakistan] in a Twenty20 series early this year. Now at full strength in this World Cup, they continued to play as a thoroughly professional unit against all teams. Therefore, overcoming them in a World Cup final will require an extraordinary effort from Babar Azam and his men,” Ijaz signed off.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2022

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