By: Chinmay Vaidya
Pakistan has had a whirlwind of a year. After shocking India in the 2017 Champions Trophy final, Pakistan has slowly emerged from the shadows of world cricket to once again become a legitimate title contender.
Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul-Haq look the part as stars and have the numbers to back it up. Zaman added his name to the list of the fastest cricketers to 1,000 ODI runs. Babar Azam, who is also on this list, is another up-and-coming middle-order batsman. ul-Haq has four centuries in nine ODI matches, an impressive mark despite the level of competition being subpar. Asif Ali brings another solid bat to the middle order.
Bowling has long been Pakistan's strength and a new generation of seamers will make begin to make noise in this tournament. Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Shadab Khan create a formidable trio. Ali and Amir will be tasked with creating chances in the early overs and Khan will bring some variety with his legspin during the middle period. Whether Khan can handle the pressure of the big-time tournament will go a long way toward determining Pakistan's fate.
Pakistan should go through to the Final Four stage with India and Hong Kong in the group. It remains to be see who will take the top spot in the group, but that shouldn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. This tournament has created at least two Pakistan-India matchups due to the format. Will we get a third one for all the marbles?
Full Squad: Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Safraz Ahmed (C, WK), Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir
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