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Match Preview – Pakistan vs Scotland, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 41st Match, Group 2

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Preview

Scotland, meanwhile, have endured a disappointing Super 12s journey and will want to close out in style

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There is a meme doing the rounds in Pakistan wherewith a man sits stylishly smoking a cigarette, observing a wide open field where several teams play cricket. His swagger implies that he cares less about anything happening on the cricket field, because his passage is secure. The person seems to be embodying Pakistan undefeated sitting on top of the table, while the field represents Group B, where the remaining teams scramble desperately to keep their heads above water.

Pakistan was the first team to storm into the semis, winning four straight games including an emphatic ten-wicket victory against arch-rivals India. The wins against New Zealand and Afghanistan had their share of nervy moments but Asif Ali‘s red-hot cameos brought them through. Aside from that, Pakistan’s World Cup expedition had rarely been as clinical and assertive in a generation.

For Pakistan, the contest against Scotland is a chance to further flex their muscles and iron out any kinks ahead of the semi-finals. Hasan Ali hasn’t quite lived up to expectations with the ball this tournament – though he did return to form against Namibia – while Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf have picked up the fast bowling load. Mohammad Hafeez’s unbeaten 16-ball 32 against Namibia ticked a further box for Pakistan, who now seem to be firing on all cylinders.

Scotland have endured a desperately disappointing Super 12s journey after a splendidly successful qualifier. A 130-run defeat to Afghanistan was followed by a capitulation against Namibia, and while they ran New Zealand close, they found themselves on the receiving end of a thrashing against India. They have never really come close to winning a single game, and will want to close out their campaign in style.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches, most recent first)

Pakistan: WWWWW
Scotland: LLLLW

In the spotlight

Fakhar Zaman‘s three innings haven’t yet seen him come to life in quite the way Pakistan are aware he can. He entered into the World Cup with sublime form but couldn’t capitalise. That is partially down to the openers ensuring the lower order hasn’t been needed, but on the couple occasions Fakhar has been called upon, he has been less than convincing. At his best, no batter in the Pakistan side is more lethal, and Pakistan would love to see him hit top gear as the knockout stages loom.

Scotland might be winless in the Super 12s stage, but Mark Watt still counts as one of the spinners of the tournament. Aside from the game against India – where he was still the most economical bowler – the left-arm spinner hasn’t once conceded over a run a ball all tournament. Against Pakistan, who have plenty of right-hand batters, his game should match up nicely with the ball shaping away from the outside edge.

Team news

Pakistan have retained their winning combination for all four games so far, and it won’t be a surprise if they stick to the same squad.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Mohammad Hafeez/Haider Ali, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Asif Ali, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali/Mohammad Nawaz, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi

Other than Dylan Budge and Hamza Tahir, Scotland have played all 13 players throughout so far. They were unchanged against India from their previous game against New Zealand. But given their winless streak in the Super 12s, they might give their bench players a run.

Scotland: 1 George Munsey, 2 Kyle Coetzer (capt), 3 Calum MacLeod, 4 Richie Berrington, 5 Michael Leask, 6 Matthew Cross (wk), 7 Chris Greaves, 8 Mark Watt, 9 Safyaan Sharif, 10 Alasdair Evans, 11 Brad Wheal

Pitch and conditions

Dew has been a factor on occasions, and so the team winning the toss has tended to field first. The weather remains warm in Sharjah, but as the evening progresses the temperature starts dropping marginally. The pitch remains slow, and anything above 145 should be competitive.

Stats that matter

  • Asif Ali has hit seven sixes against pacers in this tournament. This equates to a six every 2.3 balls, the highest in the tournament.
  • Hasan Ali averages 32.5 with an economy of 8.70, the most expensive in the tournament so far.
  • Scotland have taken 25 wickets, second best among all teams so far. They strike once every 16.7 balls, a rate bettered only by England and South Africa.
  • Quotes

    “We can’t be happy with just playing a few Super 12 games. We need to be brave and push that a little bit further, and we need support there”
    Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer reflects on his side’s World Cup campaign and the importance of finishing off well

    Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent



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    Green vs Stokes? Let Cam be his own man

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    The clash of the allrounders will be a closely watched head-to-head but there still needs to patience with Green



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    SJN report – Another delay as CSA ombudsman asks for week’s extension

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    “We will have a board meeting soon after we receive the report and then we will release it publicly,” CSA acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki

    CSA’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report will be delivered to the organisation a week later than scheduled, with the ombudsman, Dumisa Ntsebeza, requesting an extension to the revised November 30 deadline. The report will now be sent to the board on December 6.

    Pholetsi Moseki, the CSA acting chief executive, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the report would be made public after the board has spent time deliberating on its contents: “We will have a board meeting soon after we receive the report and then we will release it publicly.”

    The report will contain recommendations made by Ntsebeza on issues relating to discrimination in South African cricket, and is expected to cover issues around the culture in the national teams, selection, match fees, and the grassroots.

    CSA is not obligated to implement any of Ntsebeza’s suggestions, but is likely to act on at least some of them.

    This is the second time the report has been delayed after it was initially expected to be completed by September 30. The deadline had to be extended after several parties that were implicated in the first phase of testimonies between July 5 and August 6 requested for time to compile their replies, which was granted.
    The second phase of testimonies was held in October and included responses by current head coach Mark Boucher, director of cricket Graeme Smith, and former men’s captain AB de Villiers. All three submitted written affidavits and did not appear before the SJN to give oral evidence, and only Boucher’s statement has been made public so far.
    Although Ntsebeza had previously indicated that the process could do with more time, it has already run for most of 2021 after the first call for submissions was put out at the end of April. It is believed that CSA had budgeted Rand 5 million (US$ 350,000 approx) for the project but the amount has gone up because of the extensions. The costs have come at a time when CSA is waiting to see if its coffers will be filled by an India tour, scheduled to begin in mid-December but in doubt because of the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in southern Africa.

    South Africa’s men’s team is also due to play New Zealand (away) and Bangladesh (at home) this summer, while the women’s team is scheduled to host West Indies before the Women’s World Cup.

    Last week, CSA confirmed that all national teams would continue to take a knee before each match this season to show solidarity with the fight against racism.



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    Manchester United owners acquire team in UAE T20 League

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    After failed bids to acquire an IPL franchise, the Glazers have made their first formal foray into cricket

    Manchester United Football Club’s American owner, Lancer Capital, has made its first foray into cricket by acquiring a franchise in the soon-to-be-launched UAE T20 League. The update came a week after Reliance Industries, the owner of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, also announced their investment in the league through a franchise ownership.

    “I am very excited to be a part of UAE T20 at its formation,” Avram Glazer, chairman of Lancer Capital, said in a statement. “UAE T20 promises to be a world class event that will be transformative to the growth of cricket in the Emirates.”

    Last month, Lancer Capitals was among the final shortlisted bidders for the two new IPL franchises, eventually losing out to RPSG Group and CVC Capital, the groups that acquired the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises respectively.

    Out of the nine bids, Lancer Capital had posted the lowest bid at INR 4128.65 crore (US$ 551 million approx.) for the Ahmedabad franchise, and INR 4023 crore (US$ 537 million approx.) for the Lucknow franchise.

    The latest investment adds to the company’s portfolio in the sporting world: the Glazer family also owns Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    “I am very excited to welcome Mr. Glazer to the UAE T20 Family,” Khalid Al Zarooni, UAE T20 League chairman, said. “To have a partner who has invested into sports properties with a long term investment perspective is a testament to the strength of the UAE T20 League’s Business Model and its value proposition to its stakeholders and an ode to the UAE as the destination of choice for global sports events.”

    The owners of the Knight Riders T20 teams are also understood to be “on-board” to own one of the teams in the UAE event. Capri Global, which also made a failed bid for the two new IPL franchises, Big Bash League’s Sydney Sixers, and Kiran Kumar Grandhi, a co-owner of Delhi Capitals, are believed to be among the other interested parties.

    The six-team league has been sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board and is looking to make room for itself in the January-February window, although its inaugural edition in 2022 is likely to be played in February-March.



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