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T20 World Cup | PAK vs SCO: To get either Babar or Rizwan out would be massive achievement, says Safiyaan Sharif

Scotland’s Safiyaan Sharif has expressed excitement about the T20 World Cup fixture against Pakistan scheduled to take place on Sunday in Sharjah. Sharif who was born in Huddersfield to a Pakistani father and a British-Pakistani mother has been Scotland’s leading wicket-taker since the beginning of the Super 12 stage. 

"It's going to be exciting. I've got a Pakistani background and my family is Pakistani so it's definitely one I've been looking forward to,” he said while talking to ESPNcricinfo. 

Sharif further added that scalping a wicket of either Pakistan captain Babar Azam or wicket-keeper batsman Rizwan will be a massive achievement. 

“It would be good to pick up either Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan,” he said. 

"To get either of those two out would be a massive achievement: they don't give their wickets away easily. If we can get the two openers out early, I think Pakistan will be under a bit of pressure,” he added. 

Pakistan have already qualified for the semi-final after winning all the four matches and would be looking to continue the momentum against Scotland as well. 

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T20 World Cup | With support of billion Indians, Afghanistan dare to dream against New Zealand

The buildup The ongoing edition of the T20 World Cup has thrown more surprises than anyone would have expected and it can be established by the fact that one of the firm favourites are already out of the race for the semi-finalists spot and another one are just clinging on to a glimmer of hope on the brilliance of a side who were considered a mere participant before the start of the tournament. It doesn’t happen every day that a game between two sides has more meaning for a third side that is not a party in the contest, but the game between New Zealand and Afghanistan is one such rare occurrence. When Mohammad Nabi will lead his Afghan warriors onto the field against the Blackcaps, he would surely know that they would be carrying the hopes and opportunities of a billion people from India. They would be aware of what their victory could achieve for the men in blue, but will that make them play any different? Hard to say yes to that question but it would certainly give them the freedom to put all their heart and soul into the game because they could too replace India and New Zealand if they win big. India would celebrate even a win for them, and more so a close win for them as their net run rate will make them firm favourites to go through. On the face of it, Afghanistan have triumphed more than they could have aspired to before the tournament and hence how motivated they would be and how much belief they would have in themselves to beat both New Zealand in the game and India on a net run rate basis will dictate the flow of the game. On the other hand, New Zealand are a more settled side and the world knows what they bring to the table. They have filled their batting order with swashbuckling stroke makers and all-around batsmen such as the skipper Kane Williamson to arrest unaffordable situations while batting. They have banked on their pace attack led by the experienced duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult to do the bulk of damage but their spin twins of Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner have not been a walkover either. Instead, they have been a force to be reckoned with and choked the Indian batting unit to the brink of early elimination from the tournament. Now, having seen all of the conditions on offer in the tournament, New Zealand should fancy their chances to advance through the semi-finals having beaten India in one of the two stiff competitions they were to deal with before the tournament had begun. However, close contests against both Scotland and Namibia for a considerable length of the games don’t make them indomitable favourites to win the game and there lies the anticipation of a contest and a big build-up for the game. Contest within contest Williamson vs Rashid A lot of the reasoning behind not making New Zealand a clear favourite is the presence of quality spinners in the Afghanistan team and the best of them all is Rashid Khan, who is quite capable of turning things on his own in a maximum of four overs. He has been held back and has been used strategically after the end of powerplay by Nabi and if the trend continues, he would have to take on Kane Williamson, who is the best batsman against spinners in the Blackcaps squad. If the Kiwis have to break the spinners' outright dominance on them, Williamson will have to be the man with the bat for the Blackcaps while Rashid has been the trump card for all the sides he plays and the story will be a lot more serious in the game. If Afghanistan have to halt New Zealand to either qualify or raise their reputation at the world stage and earn the huge wave of love from India, Rashid will have to spin a web around the Blackcaps batting unit and that can’t be made possible without eliminating the threat of Williamson. Match details New Zealand vs Afghanistan, Match no.: 40, Super 12 Group 2 Date & Time: Nov 07, 02:00 PM LOCAL, 03:30 IST Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi Pitch conditions The pitches in Abu Dhabi have been quite supportive to the pace bowlers and Kagiso Rabada’s dominance over Bangladesh and Josh Hazlewood’s dominance over the West Indies batting unit shows some sort of pattern and should impart huge confidence in the New Zealand bowling unit. On the other hand, there will be no due to come as a relief for batsmen and that will give Afghanistan spinners a chance to extract the best out of the surface when the ball will be absolutely dry. Afghanistan have been an outlier in the tournament with their eagerness to bat first and defend a total except for the last game against India and the pitch conditions in Abu Dhabi and hammering they got at the hands of India should force them to go back to their tried and tested tactic. However, batting first will bring Kiwis pacers into the game and in a way, the game will be decided on how good or bad the two batting units bat against each other’s bowling unit. Team news Afghanistan Afghanistan had to field their playing XI without Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the last game against India and all including the Indian team are hoping for his return to full fitness for the big game for all three sides. Apart from him, there is no contention for places in the side and Mohammad Nabi should field a settled XI in their last game of the tournament which could also be their last game for some time at such a big stage. Probable XI Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (WK), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Gulbadin Naib, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (C), Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hamid Hassan. New Zealand New Zealand have no reasons whatsoever to change their performing playing XI for one final big game before the big semi-finals. They will carry on with playing the pace trio of Southee, Boult and Adam Milne and the pitch in UAE should give them plenty of hope and excitement against Afghanistan, who are not known for their abilities against high pace and quality swing. Probable XI Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway (WK), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult. CE Fantasy XI Devon Conway, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Mitchell Santner, Karim Janat, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi and Rashid Khan Captain: Kane Williamson Vice-captain: Rahmanullah Gurbaz


T20 World Cup | PAK vs SCO: As Pakistan target spotless Super 12, Scots would look to bow out on a high

The Pakistani team which has played phenomenally well in this tournament so far would be looking to go one better and finish the Super 12 stage and march into the semi-final with a win and remain unbeaten in the tournament. They have an easy outlet to achieve that as well as they face Scotland, the only team in the group that has not won any game so far. Scotland and Kyle Coetzer will on the other end look to finish the campaign on a high and nothing could be better than a win. But considering that the game would be played in Sharjah, a win would be a very far fetched result for the Scots. What's at stake? For Pakistan, it is much more about pride, about getting to the semis remaining unbeaten and proving to their opposition, which would most likely be Australia, that they mean business and are not to be taken lightly whatsoever. On the other hand, for Scots, everything is at stake. It’s not about just winning, but also proving to themselves that they can compete at the highest level too. It has been just one game against New Zealand where they were able to showcase their full potential. It would also be a challenge for them to play against spin and no better place than Sharjah to test themselves. They have folded very quickly against the spin of Afghanistan and India and hence showcasing some fight here would mean a lot to them. What needs to change? For Pakistan, they would like Mohammad Hafeez to get back in form before the big match in the semi-final. Also, Hasan Ali is someone that has been wayward throughout the tournament but has remained in the playing XI as the team did not want to change the winning combination. If he could come back to form then the green brigade would be firing all cylinders before the semi-finals. For Scotland, they need to change their approach towards batting and not go all bonkers even when the wickets are falling. Experienced players like Richie Berrington, skipper Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey need to stick together and play the 20 overs with confidence while the late order hitters in Michael Leask and Chris Greaves need to come to the party. Pakistan vs Scotland: Match Details Match Number - 41 Date and Time: November 07, 2021, 07:30 pm IST, 06:00 pm Local, 02:00 pm GMT Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah Broadcast and Livestream: Star Sports and Hotstar Pitch Report The pitch at Sharjah would be shiny in terms of looks like it has been for quite a while now, but it would act as a facade as the wicket would be low and slow as usual and anything above the range of 150 would be hard to chase on that wicket. Weather Forecast The temperature at the stadium will fall from 29-degree Celsius at 06:00 pm to 25-degree Celsius by 10:00 pm and similarly, the humidity will increase from 41% to 53%. A light breeze is expected and there are very limited chances of precipitation as well, which is a very rare phenomenon in Sharjah. But since there would definitely be some dew, any team winning the toss would look to field first even though chasing has been a troublesome task on this wicket. Team News Pakistan The Pakistani team would not be looking to make any change as it has been evident in their last game against Namibia that they want to play with the same xi and keep doing the same stuff before going to the next stage. Probable XI Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi Scotland The only change that Scotland could afford is bringing back Josh Davey in the XI as the rest of the players are their mainstay anyways. Probable XI George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer (c), Matthew Cross (wk), Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Alasdair Evans, Safyaan Sharif, Bradley Wheal CE XI Fantasy team Wicketkeepers Mohammad Rizwan Batters George Munsey, Richie Berrington, Babar Azam, Asif Ali All-rounders Michael Leask, Shadab Khan Bowlers Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi Vice-Captain Shaheen Afridi Captain Babar Azam