Kolkata: In-form Shadab Khan was poised to make a comeback after recovering from concussion, while skipper Babar Azam was aiming to finally make a mark in the tournament as Pakistan on Wednesday took a clean sheet ahead of their near-miss. to win the World Cup. against England here.
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After two days of release in Kolkata, the Pakistani players had a three-hour practice session in the afternoon focusing on all the three departments of the game.
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Shadab first started rolling his arm after their match against South Africa when he was ruled out due to concussion.
The 25-year-old man had a nasty fall while parking and was hit on the head. Rookie leg-spinner Usama Mir had to be replaced as a concussion substitute and then lost their last two matches against Bangladesh and New Zealand.
Shadab bowled it completely and was seen batting at the nets as well.
Babar’s inconsistency has plagued Pakistan in the batting department.
He has four half-centuries from eight engines and not once has the No. 3 able to convert it into a three digit score. Babar has also lost his No. 1 ODI batsman ranking.
Due to a big knock, Babar was the last to get out but he was seen spending maximum time at the nets especially against his pace sensation Shaheen Shah Afridi.
He also used sweeping shots to the spinners to take on the likes of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in the spin-friendly conditions of Eden.
Pacer Haris Rauf, who was scarred with an injury to his left rib and went for an MRI, was also seen in action.
A “fresh” wicket, yet to be used in this World Cup, will be available for Pakistan’s crucial clash on Saturday.
There were some green patches on the wicket three days before the match and Cricket Association of Europe (CAB) keeper Sujan Mukherjee said it would be a “good batting track”.
“The track is offering a different turn and behavior due to the dew this time. I am not sure how much grass will be kept, there is still some time left for the game,” Mukherjee told PTI.
Eden’s track has been very successful this time around and only once in three 300-plus matches has it been achieved, that after the Indians’ struggle against South Africa.
In response, the batting-heavy South Africa folded for 83.
Their campaign hanging by a thread, Pakistan vyager for the fourth spot and set up a semi-final clash with table-toppers India.
New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan have eight points each, separated by net run rate, as all must-win situations.
While New Zealand will face Sri Lanka, Afghanistan will face South Africa’s toughest challenge in their final group stage match.
Australia and South Africa face off in the other semi-final.
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