Pakistan likely playing XI for T20 World Cup match against USA

Babar Azam said conditions are favourable for fast-bowlers

Pakistan likely playing XI for T20 World Cup match against USA PHOTO: PCB

Pakistan is set to play their first T20 World Cup 2024 match against the USA on June 6 in Dallas, Texas.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, who returned as the opening pair in the fourth T20I against England with a 59-run partnership, are likely to continue as openers for this game.

Usman Khan, who seized his opportunity in the last T20I against England by scoring a rapid 38 off 21 balls, is expected to bat at number three, with Fakhar Zaman maintaining his usual position at number four.

Azam Khan has been struggling with confidence following poor performances both with the gloves and the bat in recent series. This may lead Pakistan to consider replacing him with Saim Ayub. Should Saim be included, he is likely to open with Rizwan, pushing Babar Azam, Usman Khan, and Fakhar Zaman down to number 3, 4, and 5, respectively.

Iftikhar Ahmed is expected to play a lower-order role to provide momentum during the death overs. With Imad Wasim ruled out due to injury, Shadab Khan will be the sole specialist spinner in the XI, with support from Iftikhar.

Babar on Tuesday said that conditions are favourable for fast bowlers, thus Pakistan is likely to go with four pacers.

Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, and Haris Rauf are certain to start, while Abbas Afridi may be preferred over the recently expensive Naseem Shah, offering additional batting depth down the order.

If the Men in Green decide to go with three pacers, Abrar Ahmed will come into the playing XI.

Likely XI

Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam (C), Usman Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Azam Khan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah/Abbas Afridi/Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Amir, Haris Rauf