Pakistani team, led by Babar Azam, will aim to win their second T20 World Cup championship in Australia. On October 23, they will face their fierce rivals India in a high-profile match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Last year, Pakistan defeated the Men in Blue in a World Cup match for the first time, and they will be eager to repeat the feat this year. In Group 2 of the Super 12 stage of the competition, they are grouped with Bangladesh and South Africa in addition to India. At the end of the first round, two more teams will join them.

Take a look at the SWOT analysis of the Pakistan squad for the 2022 T20 World Cup

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Strengths – Star pacer, opening pair & all-rounders

Despite ultimately losing, Pakistan named a team that is very similar to the one that competed in the Asia Cup, with one important exception: the return of crucial bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi. For the team, which hasn’t held the coveted World Cup trophy since 2009, star pacer Afridi’s return would be a surefire confidence booster.

Further, Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, Pakistan’s opening pair, are among the best. Since the 2021 World Cup match against India, the two have been the foundation of their success.  On the other hand, Pakistan has two handy all-rounders as Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan who can contribute as needed by the team. Nawaz’s promotion to the No. 4 position during Pakistan’s Asia Cup Super 4 match against India serves as a prime example. Nawaz, a lower-order batter in general, threw everything at the Indian bowlers, racing to a quickfire 42 off 25 deliveries and putting his side on the offensive.

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Weaknesses – opening Pair, middle order, fielding & pace

In terms of their batting, Pakistan’s openers have frequently proven to be both their biggest strength and their biggest weakness. Rizwan and Babar are indisputable examples of consistency and grace, but their prolonged duration at the crease has occasionally come at a price. Moreover, their middle order has gone largely untested in the run-up to the T20 World Cup, raising serious concerns. That justifies the need for either of their openers to bat through the innings in some ways, but it comes back to bite them on days when the required tempo is lacking. One example is last month’s Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka.

Fielding is another significant area of the game where the team has made mistakes. Highly skilled fielders on the team have also been observed missing catches at critical moments in the game, which has caused serious issues. One recent instance of this was the Asia Cup final, where the Pakistani team was unable to hold on to several catches, which allowed Bhanuka Rajapaksha to get well-positioned and win the game for his team. The team can also be seen struggling with sheer speed. Remember how the Men in Green struggled to contain Hardik Pandya’s pace and bounce during their opening match of the Asia Cup?

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Opportunities – Australian pitches to favour Pak pacers

Pakistan has produced some of the best cricket players, including Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, and most recently Shaheen Afridi. Pakistan has always excelled at pace, no matter where they are in the world. Six pacers have been specifically chosen for Australia, taking into account the hard pitches’ bounce and speed. Left-arm seamer Afridi, who missed the Asia Cup due to a ligament injury sustained during the Test series against Sri Lanka in July, will be the team’s leader among the pacers.

Furthermore, Rauf has exceptional wicket-taking skills in addition to pace, as evidenced by the 10 wickets he has taken this year, out of a total of nine matches, eight of which were at the Asia Cup. The team’s obvious first-choice pacers would probably be the trio of Shaheen, Rauf, and Naseem.  In addition, currently ranked third in the ICC Men’s T20I team rankings, Pakistan has had a run of successful performances in the shortest format over the past 12 months. Pakistan won the T20 World Cup in 2009, and at the UAE edition in 2021, they advanced to the semifinals.

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Threats- Pakistan’s team has been unable to choke the opposition

The team that appears to be unbeatable right now faces some threats that could cause serious problems in future games. One of the most serious concerns for the team is the batters’ slow approach during run chases. The team hasn’t gotten off to a great start, and the batters at the bottom of the order haven’t been able to make an impact with big hits. As a result, Pakistan’s team has been unable to choke the opposition on multiple occasions. Even when batsmen are well set, they are unable to make the most of their extended stay on the crease, which has only helped their team win games.

Over the course of cricket history, the Pakistan team has frequently been referred to as unpredictable, whether that has been to their benefit or not. The Asia cup defeat raises questions that require answers as soon as possible, whether it was Pakistan’s inability to handle pressure in stressful situations or their mental fragility that led to their downfall. The thought would have certainly occurred to the Pakistan team management and board, who recently announced a 15-member squad to represent their country in Australia.