PAK vs ENG: From Shaheen Afridi to Alex Hales – Players to Watch Out For in T20 World Cup Final

The stage is all set for the big ticket T20 World Cup final between two quality teams England and Pakistan on November 13 at Melbourne Cricket Ground. It has been an exciting World Cup where several upsets were witnessed in qualification and Super 12 rounds. England and Pakistan themselves were part of the biggest upsets as Jos Buttler and Co were beaten by Ireland after rain turned out to be a big antagonist for them, while Zimbabwe shocked the Men in Green in a last-ball thriller. However, both teams bounced back in an emphatic fashion to get a place in the semifinals.

Pakistan clashed against New Zealand in the knockout match and they brought their A-game to the table to get a place in the final. It was a collective show from the team as underfire players like Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan also stood up on an all-important day to help their team find a place in the final.

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While England produced one of their most dominant shows in T20 World Cup history in the semifinal round. They completely outclassed the Indian cricket team at Adelaide Oval with a 10-wicket victory. After a decent show with the ball, Jos Buttler and Alex Hales just blew away the Indian bowling attack with their ferocious batting. Hales brought all his experience of playing in BBL on Australian soil as he scored smashed an unbeaten 86 in 57 deliveries, while the English skipper scored 80 not-out off 49 balls.

Here are the players to watch out for in Pakistan vs England T20 World Cup Final

1. Shaheen Shah Afridi

The premier left-arm pacer has returned to his best at the right time of the tournament. After returning to the Pakistan team post his recovery from injury, Shaheen found it difficult to get his rhythm back in the first few games at T20 World Cup. However, when the time came for the do-or-die situation for his team, the left-arm seamer took the responsibility to get the job done in crucial matches against Bangladesh and New Zealand. He has to replicate the same on Sunday on the big stage against England who have great depth in batting which allows them to play with a fearless approach.

2. Sam Curran

Sam Curran has been the standout bowler for England in this tournament and the injury scare of Mark Wood will add more responsibility on the left-arm pacer for Sunday’s clash. He has picked 10 wickets in 5 matches so far in the showpiece event. The 24-year-old has used his variations quite well and put some big hitters under pressure in death overs. However, against Pakistan, he has to put a brake on the scoring rate in the middle overs.

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3. Haris Rauf

It is going to be a clash where the quality pace of Pakistan has to stop the fearless England batters at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Rauf has valuable experience of playing in Australian conditions in the Big Bash League. He has claimed 30 wickets in 18 matches for Melbourne Stars as he himself claims that MCG is like its home ground. England have some big firepower in the lower-middle order which makes Rauf’s role even more important for a big clash. The premier pacer has done well for Pakistan in the death overs but players like Liam Livingstone will be waiting for him in the final.

4. Alex Hales

A couple of months back, Hales was nowhere in the scheme of things for England but an unfortunate injury to Jonny Bairstow turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him. Now he is the leading run-getter for England in this World Cup with 211 runs in five matches at a sublime average of 52.75. He brought his A-game on the table against India in the semifinals where he slammed an unbeaten 86 not out in 57 deliveries. He has a big task to tackle a quality pace attack on Sunday to guide his team a glory.

5. Shadab Khan

The Pakistan all-rounder has been the stand-out performer for Pakistan so far in T20 World Cup. He has been doing the job for his team with both bat and the ball. He has scored 78 runs at a strike rate of 177.27 which includes a sensational half-century against South Africa in a pressure situation. While he has claimed 10 wickets in 6 matches with the ball to trouble the opposition batters in the middle overs. England have to play him with a cautious approach to keep their wickets intact.

6. If Buttler

The England captain has once again proved why he is regarded amongst the best players in the shortest format. He has been leading his team from the front as he has already scored 199 runs in the tournament at a strike rate of 143.17. He scored crucial half-centuries against New Zealand and India to help the team qualify for the final. However, Buttler doesn’t have the best of records against Pakistan with 148 runs in 18 matches. He has to forget the ghosts of the past on the big stage to guide England to their second T20 World Cup title.

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