Pakistan's captain Babar Azam
Pakistan's captain Babar Azam Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: Title-favourites Pakistan will be viewing the Super-12 contest against Namibia as more of a practice game to try out new combinations while resting a few players in the second game of the double-header in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Pakistan, after having seen through the challenge of the three Test-playing nations — India, New Zealand and Afghanistan, are on a roll. Babar Azam’s men are a well-balanced unit and the familiarity of the UAE conditions make them an aura of invincibility and they rightfully sit at the top of the points table and almost assured of a place in the semi-finals. Skipper Azam is in great touch with two half-centuries in three games and so is Asif Ali, who is providing the perfect finishing touches at crucial times. The right-hander is capable of hitting sixes with ease, which he showcased in his seven-ball unbeaten 25 against Afghanistan. Needing 24 off 12 balls, Asif hit four sixes off Karim Janat in the 19th over to seal the match with plenty to spare.

Even experienced bowlers like Tim Southee and Trent Boult were meted out with the same treatment. Asif hit three sixes off them in his 12-ball unbeaten 27.

Pakistan bowling has a huge variety and skill in both pace and spin departments. The bowlers are capable of tormenting even the best in the business and the Namibian batters will be no different. Pakistan, so far, have exhibited a perfect game without any weakness in their armoury.

On the other hand, with one loss against Afghanistan and one win against Scotland, Namibia have given a good account of themselves in their maiden sojourn. But the debutants are facing the barrel as they are against some of the top players in the world of cricket. They should view these games as a learning experience, which will hold them in good stead in the future.

Namibia’s batting revolves around skipper Gerhard Erasmus and David Wiese, the former South African international. Left-arm pacer Ruben Trumpelmann is Namibia’s main trump card. Namibia will be hoping that the left-arm pacer gives them an early breakthrough, just as he has done against Scotland. Even though he could not repeat it against Afghanistan, Trumpelmann could still be proud of his two for 34 effort in the four overs.