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ICC T20 World Cup Ind vs Pak: From Babar Azam to Shaheen Shah Afridi, 5 Pakistan players to watch out for


India and Pakistan have locked horns eight times in T20 international games, where India have defeated their arch-rivals on seven occasion. They have played five matches against each other in the ICC T20 World Cup, where each time, Team India has emerged victorious

ICC T20 World Cup Ind vs Pak: From Babar Azam to Shaheen Shah Afridi, 5 Pakistan players to watch out for
Former champions Pakistan begin their ICC T20 World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-nemesis India in a Group 2 fixture at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 24. When the men in Green take the field in UAE, they will be hoping to end India's dominance over them in World Cups.
The two teams have locked horns five times over the course of 14 years of the tournament's history and each time the result has gone in India's favour. Outside the ICC T20 World Cup, the two teams have taken each other on three occasions in which India has won twice and Pakistan has tasted success just once.
To sum up Pakistan has won just one T20I match against India in the eight meetings between the two sides over the years.
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With the past results skewed against Pakistan, there will be high pressure on them to deliver for a win. The Pakistan squad certainly comprises of players who are world-beaters, but come Sunday (October 24), these five players will play a crucial role in deciding the team's fortune.
Babar Azam:
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam (Image: Reuters) Pakistan Captain Babar Azam (Image: Reuters)
Babar Azam will lead the Pakistan side in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Azam is ranked second in the Men's T20I rankings. He is an exceptionally technical batter and has made the best use of his techniques in T20 cricket. Azam has played 61 T20Is scoring 2204 runs at an average of 46.89, hitting one hundred and 21 fifties.
He is third batsman, behind Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, on the list of the batters with most half-centuries in T20Is. Azam is the quickest to have scored 2,000 T20I runs as he reached the landmark in just 52 innings.
In April, he smashed the first century of his T20I career scoring 122 from 59 deliveries against South Africa. The innings comprised 15 fours, which is the second-highest in a T20I inning.  Needless to say, Azam is not only Pakistan’s captain, but also their leading batter for this tournament.
Mohammed Hafeez:
Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez (Imaged: Reuters) Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez (Imaged: Reuters)
At 41 years, Mohammed Hafeez is the oldest player in Pakistan's squad. Hafeez has played 113 T20Is which is the second-highest in the history of the sport. He is only three short of becoming the player with most T20I appearances.
In those matches, Hafeez has scored 2,429 runs and has picked 60 wickets. Even after playing T20I cricket for nearly 15 years, Hafeez ranks 12th in the ICC World Rankings for all-rounders. He is tied with Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan at the third spot on the list of the cricketers with the most Player of the Series award.
Both all-rounders have won four Player of the Series award. Only Babar Azam (5) and Indian captain Virat Kohli (7) are ahead of Hafeez and Shakib.  Naturally, Pakistan will depend on his batting as well as bowling.
Fakhar Zaman: 
Pakistan's opening batter Fakhar Zaman (Image: Reuters) Pakistan's opening batter Fakhar Zaman (Image: Reuters)
Opener Fakhar Zaman showed good form in the team's two warm-up games. First, he scored an unbeaten 46* against West Indies and then followed that innings by scoring 52 against South Africa. Zaman's form in white-ball cricket has been good.
In April, the batter almost joined Rohit Sharma in the elite club of cricketers with two or more double-hundreds in ODIs.  The left-handed batter scored 193 against South Africa and looked set to score his second double-hundred in ODIs had Quinton de Kock not tricked him and ran the batter out.
Still, Zaman's knock of 193 goes down in the history as second-most runs scored by a batter in a match on the losing side. He followed the innings of 193 with another hundred against the same opponents.
Mohammed Rizwan: 
Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan (Image: Reuters) Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan (Image: Reuters)
Mohammad Rizwan will be Pakistan's first-choice wicketkeeper. Rizwan is a good wicketkeeper and has taken 20 catches and effected 6 stumpings in 43 T20I games.
He is also a very good batter and ranks seventh in the ICC Men's T20 Rankings for batters. He has scored 1065 runs at an average of 48.40 and a strike rate of 129.09. The average of 48.40 is second-best in men's T20Is behind Virat Kohli's 52.65. Rizwan has been ruling the batting charts this year as he has scored 752 runs and counting, which is the most by a batter in a calendar year. Rizwan can either drop anchor or slog, depending on the match situation.
Shaheen Shah Afridi:
Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image: Reuters) Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image: Reuters)
Shaheen Shah Afridi is just 21 but he already plays all three formats for Pakistan. His maturity in the sport defies his age. Afridi is currently the best left-arm pacer in the world.
The pacer has picked 32 wickets from 30 T20Is with the best bowling figures of 3/20. Afridi's current form will inspire Babar Azam as he has claimed 16 wickets from his previous 8 T20 games.  In the shortest form of the game, Afridi relies on his pinpoint yorkers.
If Afridi is in the mood he can wreak havoc in the opposition batting order, as was the case for Hampshire against Middlesex, in which the pacer claimed four wickets in four balls and finished with the figures of 6/19.
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