Pakistan U23 vs United Arab Emirates, 5th Match, Group B – ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2018
December 7, 2018
National Stadium, Karachi
The 2018 edition of the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, co-hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka, will see three matches being played at the iconic National Stadium in Karachi, including the fifth match of the eight-team tournament to be played between UAE and the Pakistan Under-23 side on Friday.
The stadium, which marked the Test debuts of legends of the game such as Sachin Tendulkar and Waqar Younis, has hosted 46 ODIs till date, with very little advantage to speak for the sides batting first or second.
Out of the 44 occasions in which a result arose, the team batting first has won 21 times while the team chasing the target has done so 23 times.
The surface here is known to be a sporting wicket, with the average first innings score in ODIs being 246 while the average second innings score is 213.
Led by Mohammad Rizwan, who has been in stellar form for the Pakistan A side, the Pakistan U-23 side is expected to have a strong showing in the tournament, especially as they are the co-hosts, but the match against UAE will provide a stern test for the young side.
Both teams have started off on a winning note with comprehensive victories that highlighted their abilities with both bat and ball and the contest between them certainly looks set to be an exciting one on paper.
Last match’s playing XI and possible changes:
Sahibzada Farhan, Ali Imran, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Rizwan (c & wk), Saud Shakeel, Khushdil Shah, Ashiq Ali, Mohammad Asghar, Saad Ali, Muhammad Ilyas, Sameen Gul
Rohan Mustafa (c), Ashfaq Ahmed, Muhammad Usman, Rameez Shahzad, Qadeer Ahmed, Ghulam Shabber (wk), Ahmed Raza, Mohammad Naveed, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammad Boota, Imran Haider
On the back of comprehensive victories in their respective opening fixtures, both teams are expected to field the same playing XI.
My Dream XI
Pakistan U23 skipper and wicketkeeper, Mohammad Rizwan got little time out in the middle in the opening fixture against Hong Kong on Thursday but he showed his class with an unbeaten 33 off 26 balls that helped his side’s total beyond the 350-run mark.
Though Ghulam Shabber also got a quickfire half-century in the match against Bangladesh U23, Rizwan is in the form of his life and it is hard to look beyond him in the choice for the wicket-keeper’s slot in the Dream XI.
I have opted for four batsmen in the side – 2 from each side. Sahibzada Farhan, Pakistan U23’s top scorer from the opening fixture, is the first choice while I have also opted for his teammate Saad Ali, who has an average of above 48 in List A cricket.
From UAE, I have opted for Ashfaq Ahmed, who narrowly missed out on a century in the match against Bangladesh U23, and Shaiman Anwar.
UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa’s prominent role in the side with both bat and ball gives plenty of potential for points and alongside him, I have opted for the Pakistan U23 duo of Ali Imran and Khushdil Shah, who both had brilliant starts to the tournament.
UAE duo Imran Haider and Ahmed Raza head the bowlers list and joining them is Muhammad Ilyas, who picked up a five-wicket haul for Pakistan in the opening fixture.
Captain & Vice-captain: Khushdil Shah & Ali Imran
Player to watch out for: Khushdil Shah
The 23-year-old hard-hitting batsman had an excellent start to the tournament as he smashed 83 runs off just 40 balls before picking up two wickets in as many overs to play a stellar role in his side’s mammoth 225-run victory against Hong Kong.
While his overall wicket-taking tally may not be so impressive, he has been having a good time with the ball lately to add to his already splendid record with the bat in List A cricket.
He has started off the tournament on a high and the momentum could well continue in the coming matches.