1st T20I Match Preview: West Indies and Pakistan look to fix batting orders

Pakistan Cricket Team is currently in the West Indies for four T20Is and two Test matches. Shortly after their unsuccessful England tour, Pakistan arrived in the Caribbean, where they lost the ODI series 3-0 and the T20I series 2-1. With time running out for the mega event, Pakistan looks to find balance in the side that will help them win matches. Here is the match preview of Pak vs WI 1st T20I match. 

Initially, the tour was supposed to have five T20I matches, not until when one positive coronavirus test came from West Indies non-playing staff and postponed the second ODI match between them and Australia. Because of this, one of the five T20Is was cut out and pushed the game a day later. Pakistan will now play four T20I matches instead of five. 

Teams prepare for World Cup 

Both teams are coming from opposite directions. Pakistan were defeated 2-1 by England in the T20I series just about a week ago. The West Indies, however, are coming from an impressive 4-1 win over Australia. The hosts were excellent, and for most of the games, they were a step ahead. However, the main concern was not being able to put up big scores. It’s either their starts or their finishes. They will be looking to fix these.

West Indies Squad for 1st T20I Match
West Indies were ruthless against Australia, winning the T20I series 4-1

For Pakistan, the issues will lie ahead of the middle-order. It has been the same case for a while now. Such was the evidence in their recently concluded series as well. Now up against the defending champions of the T20 World Cup, Pakistan will have to do well to find those middle-order players who can fill in the spots. 

Pakistan are scheduled with about 14 T20I matches (including this series) and will have to sort the middle-order issue out as soon as they can to fix for the mega event, the t20 World Cup 2021. 

1st T20I Match Details:

  • Date: July 28, 2021
  • Timing: 7:00 PM PKT
  • Venue: Bridgetown, Barbados 
  • Weather: Rain is expected just a couple of hours before the match starts. Afterwards, most of the game will be expected to be cleared.  

Conditions / Pitch Report: 

The Kensington Oval is hosting its first T20I match after four years. It is not known to be a high-scorer. Spinners will enjoy on this wicket while batters will have a challenge.   

Head to Head:

Matches: 14 | England: 3 | Pakistan: 11 | Tied/ No-result: 0/0

Form Guide:

West Indies: W L W W W   (Most recent first)

Pakistan: L L W W L   

Team News:

1. West Indies

The team was excellent throughout the Australia T20I series. There were a couple of issues they had faced, so they will be looking to fix that. Not only that, they will be looking at their bench strength. But they will likely go with their strong XI in the series opener with their skipper Kieron Pollard returning.  

There is one area of concern; Evin Lewis was struck on the head by Josh Hazelwood’s bouncer in the third ODI. He seemed okay, and he scored 55* in the West Indies loss. But if the management wants him to rest, Shimron Hetmyer may come at 3 with Gayle opening. 

West Indies’s Probable XI:

1. Lendl Simmons, 2. Evin Lewis/ Shimron Hetmyer, 3. Chris Gayle, 4. Nicholas Pooran (WK), 5. Kieron Pollard (C), 6. Andre Russell, 7. DJ Bravo, 8. Fabien Allen, 9. Hayden Walsh, 10. Obed McCoy, 11. Fidel Edwards 

2. Pakistan

Pakistan’s clear issue is the middle-order that has not been able to stand up when their top order failed. Head coach Misbah ul-Haq admitted that too. Pakistan will try to find the right combination that will balance their side. 

Pakistan’s Probable XI:

1. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 2. Babar Azam (c), 3. Fakhar Zaman 4. Mohammad Hafeez, 5. Sohaib Maqsood, 6. Azam Khan, 7. Imad Wasim, 8. Shadab Khan, 9. Hasan Ali, 10. Shaheen Afridi, 11. Mohammad Hasnain

Pakistan Squad before 1st T20I Match
Shadab Khan made his international debut against the West Indies and was unstoppable

Players to watch:

1. Babar Azam, Batsman (Pakistan)

No one has a better record than Babar Azam’s 403 in the T20I series between the two sides. He scored at an average of 57.57 with a strike rate of just 125. He is ahead of the second-best batsman, 249 of Marlon Samuels. With the Pakistan captain recently dipping in form, he could not find a better time to start scoring against his favourite T20I opponents. 

2. Andre Russell, All-rounder (West Indies) 

Dr Dre Russ has some work ahead for the national side. He is a serious contender for the spotlight in the T20 World Cup. And he did not fail to let the world notice he still has a lot to show. In the recently concluded series against Australia, he scored 107 runs at a strike rate of 198.14 and played a crucial role in setting up the totals in the first and second T20I matches. 

3. Shadab Khan, All-rounder (Pakistan)

Shadab began his international career against the West Indies at this very ground, where he bowled the most economical spell on his debut. In two series against the West Indies in his career so far, he has already overtaken Samuel Badree as the highest wicket-taker in the T20I series against the two sides. He and Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez will have to work out in the Caribbean to keep their spin department strong. 

4. Hayden Walsh, Bowler (West Indies)  

In his recent series against Australia, leg-spinner Hayden Walsh has bagged 12 wickets in five games, averaging 11 and striking at every ten balls. He was the “Player of the Series” and was very good at the middle, where Pakistan has big issues. Handy with the bat too, he will be targeting the Pakistan batsmen and will become a key player in the West Indies T20 World Cup journey. 

Stats and Trivia:

  • Pakistan has dominated the West Indies in T20Is. Out of 14 matches, they have played, only three times Pakistan has lost
  • For the players who have scored at least 100 runs between the two teams, Marlon Samuels has the worst strike rate. In fact, he is the only player to have a strike rate under 100 in West Indies v Pakistan T20Is.
  • The Kensington Oval is hosting its first T20I match after four years. The last match it hosted was also between West Indies and Pakistan, where Pakistan won the match in a low score game.


“All those bad mistakes we committed in England, we don’t want to repeat them. We discussed them, and we are taking forward all the learning curves. Batting and bowling is one thing, but we are putting extra time into fielding in practice. This is an important series in a way that we will check out different combinations and check our bench strength.”

Pakistan captain Babar Azam

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