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01-Apr-2018 05:44:00 GMT
Pak v WI, 1st T20I, Karachi

Pakistan favourites against inexperienced West Indies

Karachi: The last time international cricket was played at Karachi’s National Stadium was in 2009 when Pakistan played Sri Lanka in a Test match.

The attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore during that match led to Pakistan having to play their home games at neutral venues, primarily in the United Arab Emirates.

Cricket fans in Pakistan have craved regular live international cricket since then.

In another step towards normalcy, Windies will play three T20Is in Karachi, on consecutive days from 1 April.

West Indies haven't been able to name their strongest possible squad – Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder and Devendra Bishoo decided to skip the series due to security concerns – the ICC World T20 2016 champions should have enough to keep the home side on their toes.

Jason Mohammed, 31, who has so far played six T20Is and 26 one-day internationals, will lead the 13-man squad, comprising four newcomers in Andre McCarthy, a middle-order batsman, pacers Odean Smith and Keemo Paul (who recently made his ODI debut), and Veerasammy Permaul, the left-arm spinner who has played Tests and ODIs but not T20Is.

It’s an opportunity for them to stake claims for regular spots, and play alongside the likes of Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree, Andre Fletcher, Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams.

Pakistan are also expected to blood a few youngsters. Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and Shaheen Afridi have all been named in the squad, with each player possessing tantalising possibilities.

Pakistan, the No.1 side in the MRF Tyres ICC Rankings for T20Is, are missing Imad Wasim and Rumman Raees through injury, but have a full-strength side otherwise.

The Pakistan players don’t often get to play in front of their own fans, and are sure to be buoyed by the occasion. Windies will have to make sure they are not outsiders to the party.

Teams from

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (Capt. & wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Faheem Ashraf, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi

West Indies: Jason Mohammed  (Capt.), Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Andre McCarthy, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Marlon Samuels, Odean Smith, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams

Pitch and conditions

Karachi can be quite hot and humid in April, but the matches being played at night should make the conditions pleasant. The pitch is expected to be hard with the sun baking it all day, and a run-fest could be on the cards.

Stats and trivia

Pakistan have a 6-1 win-loss record at home in seven T20Is. Their only defeat was to World XI last year.
Since the start of 2017, Pakistan have been the best T20I side in terms of results, with a 10-3 win-loss record.

Match facts

Sunday April 1, 2018
Start time 20:00 local (1500 GMT)

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