Pakistan v Scotland
Sunday 7 November 14:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Could Pakistan make changes?
Pakistan are assured of a semi-final place and they are in experimental mood. Against Namibia they wanted to test their bowlers with dew so batted first.
Could they make changes to the XI to give fringe players game time? Well, they don’t have that many options.
In the pace department only Mohammad Wasim is available. Mohammad Nawaz is an unused spin all-rounder.
It’s possible they could split Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, the opening pair, to give Fakhar Zaman a guaranteed hit, too.
Probable XI Babar, Rizwan, Fakhar, Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab, Imad, Hasan, Afridi
Scots can be solid
After the Scots were so competitive against those nice, friendly Kiwis, they didn’t know what hit them when they ran into India on Friday. They were destroyed by an aggressive outfit eager to inflict humiliation to keep semi-final hopes alive.
They will be motivated to end their campaign showing gumption and durability. But the problem is (George Munsey aside in the hitting role at No 1) the middle order has shown precious little aptitude.
Michael Leask, in the lower-order, has consistently been left to play a sort of desperate last-stand cameo.
Probable XI Munsey, Coetzer, Cross, Berrington, Macleod, Leask, Graves, Watt, Sharif, Ev-ans, Wheal
Nine games in at Sharjah and we have an average first-innings score of 142. There is a 55% toss bias. If Scotland were to win the toss they may think twice about batting first after being rolled for just 85 against India.
Still, Pakistan are unlikely to be capable of bringing the same intensity. If the Scots set their stall out and recognise that 140 keeps them in the game it might pay to swim against the tide of runs sellers. We might go long if a quote for the Scots is in the 130s.
Scotland can get grip
We think Scotland’s effort against New Zealand is far more instructive than their effort against India. For that reason we’re tempted into a trade on the Scots getting a foothold.
They are 13.50. It is not hard to reckon that they can show some fight and put Pakistan under pressure. A fast start from Munsey? The excellent Mark Watt weaving a web with spin? Maybe Brad Wheal crushing toes with yorkers?
Sportsbook are offering margin of victory odds. Pakistan by four wickets/31-40 runs at 7/1 and Pakistan by five/41-50 at 6/1 have some appeal.
Scotland struggled against Ravi Jadeja versus India. Bowling wicket-to-wicket with nagging efficiency and decent turn may all be that is required again. So Shadab Khan is worth noting at 12/1 for man of the match. Hasan Ali, who has been a little quiet, will relish getting among the Scots for a 14/1 chance. Shaheen Shah Afridi is surprisingly big at 8/1 given bowling dominance in this market in the tournament.
If Scotland are to upset they’re unlikely to manage it without a big performance from Watt, who is 20/1. It is safer, though, to back him for top Scotland bowler at 10/3
With the bat, Fakhar is a fancy to go big. And the 6/1 about him being top match batsman might be the best way to go about it. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are 13/5 and 10/3 respectively.