T20 World Cup: Pakistan eye consolatory win over Ireland but rain threat looms

Published June 16, 2024
Pakistan team trains in Florida in this picture shared by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on social media platform X on June 14. — PCB/X
Pakistan team trains in Florida in this picture shared by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on social media platform X on June 14. — PCB/X

LAUDERHILL (Florida): With arch-rivals India and USA sealing the two spots for the Super Eight stage from Group ‘A’, Pakistan have been confined to some introspection and relook at their T20 game. But before all that, Babar’s side will have to first thwart the Irish challenge.

Ireland had beaten Pakistan comprehensively in a bilateral game in days leading to the T20 World Cup and the contest — if at all it happens — could see both the teams in green fighting hard for a final laugh.

Ireland are the only team without a win in Group ‘A’ and they will be inspired to sign off with their account opened, riding on Pakistan’s lack of confidence, their trait of being fallible at crucial stages and a unified effort.

But all that will come to fore only if the rain stays away to allow play to happen as Florida has witnessed a flood-like station amid heavy downpour in the last few days.

In fact, co-hosts USA’s unexpected qualification happened only after their contest here against Ireland was washed out, which had also ensured Pakistan’s exit in the first round.

The Press Trust of India news agency on Saturday reported, citing team sources, that the Pakistan squad was split into three groups which meant it couldn’t show a unified front.

Babar Azam’s comeback as skipper had made his predecessor Shaheen Shah Afridi upset while Mohammad Rizwan was also unhappy at not being considered for the captaincy.

“There are three groups in the team, one led by Babar Azam, the second one by Shaheen Shaheen Afridi and the third one by Mohammad Rizwan. Add to this mix the return of seniors like Mohammad Aamir and Imad Wasim and the recipe was ready for a World Cup disaster,” a source close to the team was quoted as saying by PTI.

“The return of Imad and Amir added to the confusion as it was difficult for Babar to get any worthwhile performances from both of them as they had not played top level domestic or international cricket for a long while now except in franchise based leagues.

“There were even instances where some players were not talking to each other and a few of them even tried to appease all the group leaders in the team.”

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2024

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