Namibia, on the other hand, does not exist for an independent person. With the rest of the tournament in contention for a place in the semi-finals, Gerhard Erasmus’ team played a curious T20 cricket match that saw them go farther from the tournament than expected. They have a high-speed fast bowler for Ruben Trumpelmann, a host of useful spinners, a solid-enough top order, and a star for David Wiese.
Their success was not a one-man show; a handful of these players got up at different times to help them in the first round and then beat Scotland in the group. If they can catch Pakistan in the cold, they may be able to put them under pressure, and in the past, Pakistan under pressure found themselves doing funny things.
1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Mohammad Hafeez / Haider Ali, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Asif Ali, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali / Mohammad Nawaz, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi
1 Craig Williams, 2 Michael van Lingen, 3 Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, 4 Gerhard Erasmus (capt), 5 Zane Green (wk), 6 David Wiese, 7 JJ Smit, 8 Jan Frylinck, 9 Pikky Of France, 10 Ruben Trumpelmann, 11 Bernard Scholtz
Pitch and conditions
Pace has played a bigger role in Abu Dhabi than in any other area, and the stadium – which boasts a large playground – has produced surprisingly low-scoring games. It is expected to be warm in the evening, and the chance of dew is always a factor.
Eight days ago, Pakistan had games ahead of it with India.
New Zealand and Afghanistan to start the tournament with senior temporary coaches, as well as striking and throwing coaches with little consulting experience. There were a lot of dark jokes about the elimination of Pakistan during the games, but it was almost too true that it would be funny.
Eight days ago, India lost by ten wickets while New Zealand and Afghanistan won a brutal victory over the serial winners. With the semi-finals confirmed, Pakistan could treat the upcoming matches against Namibia and Scotland almost as a prelude, a kind of luxury that no Pakistani team can dream of winning in this World Cup.
Hasan Ali’s throwing method is the only one Pakistan will want to release.
In what was almost a perfect match for almost all the other players, Hasan struggled to find lines and lengths, between mid-overs or in death that made him the deadliest in his power. The 18th to 21st over brought Afghanistan back in the game, and he conceded 44 in his four overs against India last Sunday.
Less importantly, though perhaps if you look back, he could not defend the 18th in the final over of the warm-up match against South Africa. In addition to the worrying practice of throwing an unusual ball – he has hit four in his last two games – and it is difficult to conclude that things could go well for Hasan in this tournament. He will hope that Namibia will start the game.