ODI World Cup 2023: Pakistan’s strongest predicted playing XI against New Zealand

Nov 3, 2023

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Pakistan Cricket Team. (Photo by R.SATISH BABU/AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan (PAK) are all set to lock horns with New Zealand (NZ) in the 35th match of the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup on November 4, Saturday, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, in Bengaluru. The Men in Green are coming off a remarkable win over Bangladesh in their previous game after suffering four consecutive defeats. 

The Babar Azam-led side made a strong start in their campaign, having won their opening two games against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, respectively. The 1992 World champions are currently placed in fifth place in the ODI World Cup points table and have a slim chance of finishing in the top four. 

Here’s Pakistan’s Predicted XI against New Zealand:

Openers: Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman

Fakhar Zaman. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Pakistan came up with a different lineup in their previous game against Bangladesh, with Fakhar Zaman opening with Abdullah Shafique. Shafique has been one of the standout performers for the Babar Azam-led side in the ongoing ODI World Cup. He scored his third half-century in their game against Bangladesh and produced a 128-run partnership with Zaman for the opening wicket. Meanwhile, Zaman, who replaced Imam-ul-Haq- proved his worth, scoring a match-winning 81 off 74 deliveries, and went on to win the Player of the Match award.

Also Check: Most Runs in ODI World Cup 2023

Middle Order: Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel

Babar Azam. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Pakistan usually excel with their middle-order batters. Even though he has scored three half-centuries in the tournament so far, captain Babar Azam has not been able to produce match-winning performances for the side. He was dismissed after scoring a below-par nine runs in their previous game against the Shakib Al Hasan-led side. Azam can still contribute to his team’s success in their upcoming game with a magnificent knock.

Mohammad Rizwan, who is the team’s leading run-scorer, has produced impressive performances so far in the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023. The wicketkeeper-batter could be the Men in Green’s standout performer in their upcoming encounter. He has so far scored 359 runs off seven games at an impressive average of 71.80 and a strike rate of 98.89, respectively. To pose a threat to the Kiwis’ bowling assault, he is anticipated to maintain his current form.

In some of Pakistan’s games, Iftikhar Ahmed showed his power-hitting prowess with the bat despite having a poor start to the campaign. His greatest performance was against Afghanistan, where he helped Pakistan set a reasonable target with an explosive (40 off 27 balls) cameo. Hence, Ahmed provides his side with some much-needed depth and solidity in the middle order.

Meanwhile, speaking of another talented batter in the form of Saud Shakeel, has played well for Pakistan in some crucial matches. So far, in the ongoing marquee event, Shakeel has scored 212 runs in seven games, with two half-centuries at a strike rate of 101.43 and an average of 35.33. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the batter will fare for Pakistan in the tournament ahead.

All-rounder: Salman Ali Agha

Agha-Salman. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Pakistan’s leg spinner Shadab Khan has not lived up to the expectations with both the bat and the bowl. The Men in Green were hoping a strong support in the middle order with vital contributions from the all-rounders but Shadab just failed to get going. In the aftermath, the Babar Azam-led side tried another spinner with all-round capabilities in the form of Mohammad Nawaz.

The neighbours had hoped for a better showing from Nawaz but he too looked lacklustre against Bangladesh. As a result, after much debate around the selection of the team, Salman Ali Agha who has shown his batting prowess in the past will most likely get the chance when it matters the most. Agha has yet to showcase his skills in the ongoing tournament but surely provide balance and batting depth to the Pakistan side if they are to have any chances against the strong bowling lineup of England.

Bowlers: Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf

Shaheen Afridi has been the best bowler of Pakistan so far in the tournament. The ace speedster is currently the second-highest wicket-taker in the ongoing tournament, alongside Adam Zampa and Marco Jansen, with the trio having picked up 16 wickets each. In his team’s recent ODI World Cup 2023 game against Bangladesh, he contributed significantly, finishing with outstanding figures of 3/23, which helped his side to limit the opposition to a below-par total on board. His bowling exploits against Bangladesh earned him the top spot in the ICC bowler rankings.

Usama Mir has played only four games and picked up four wickets for Pakistan so far in the tournament. Against Bangladesh, he took one wicket for 66 runs. Even though he has not looked in his supreme bowling rhythm but has posed questions for batters on many occasions in the ongoing marquee event.

Pacer Mohammad Wasim Jr. has been included in the lineup for Pakistan’s match against South Africa as a replacement for Hasan Ali, who is currently nursing his injury. Notably, Ali had impressed in his very first match with his accurate bowling though his bowling figures of 2//50 do not speak of his consistent bowling. Despite that, he continued from where he left off and played a vital role in the match against Bangladesh, where the pacer claimed a three-wicket (3/31) haul.

Pakistan have a great pace asset in Haris Rauf, but the pacer is yet to find his mojo in the ODI World Cup. However, with an economy rate of 6.50, with 12 wickets from seven games, it did not stop Rauf from being the second most successful wicket-taker for the team. He was crucial in the match against Bangladesh, picking up two crucial wickets for 36 runs in his eight-over spell.

Pakistan predicted XI vs New Zealand: 

Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf

Check Here: Most Wickets in ODI World Cup 2023
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