The first week of the Super 12 round in the T20 World Cup 2021 is behind us. Pakistan and England have been the two dominant sides in the ICC event so far. While Pakistan have dominated Group 2, with three wins from as many matches, England have replicated the same in Group 1. Both Pakistan and England seem all set to make the semis of the T20 World Cup 2021 by topping their group. As we head into week two of the ICC event, we look back at the team of the first week.
Openers: Babar Azam (captain), Jos Buttler (wk)
Pakistan have been brilliant and so has been their captain Babar Azam. The right-hander batter notched up half-centuries in two of Pakistan’s three matches during the first week. He was dominant over India with 68* and guided the chase against Afghanistan. He will open the batting and lead the team of the week as well.
Swashbuckling England wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler will open the batting with Azam. The hard-hitting England cricketer dazzled with an unbeaten 71 off 32 against Australia, making a mockery of the chase. He had also scored an unbeaten 24 against West Indies.
Middle-order: Charith Asalanka, Aiden Markram, Asif Ali, Najibullah Zadran
Charith Asalanka has been excellent for Sri Lanka in the Super 12 stage. His unbeaten 80 off 49 balls against Bangladesh in a tough chase was a top-quality knock. He has followed it up with scores of 35 and 21.
Aiden Markram has been in great touch for South Africa. He scored a fighting 40 against the Aussies and followed it up with a blazing half-century against West Indies, off only 25 balls. He is a handy middle-order bat.
Asif Ali has been a sensation for Pakistan in the lower order. In consecutive games, he took the team over the line with smashing cameos. He scored an unbeaten 27 off 12 balls against New Zealand and hit four sixes in an over to seal the game against Afghanistan.
Najibullah Zadran has been consistent for Afghanistan in the middle-order. He scored a brilliant 59 against Scotland off only 34 balls and followed it up with 22 against Pakistan to steady the innings after a batting collapse.
All-rounder: Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali’s contribution with the bat has not been needed at all by England in the first week. He made 3 against West Indies and did not have to bat in the other two games. However, he has been excellent with the ball, claiming two scalps each against West Indies and Bangladesh. He did not even bowl against Australia. Ali makes the team as the spin-bowling all-rounder.
Bowlers: Wanindu Hasaranga, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Ruben Trumpelmann
Wanindu Hasaranga has excelled with the ball as expected. He was the only one to make an impact in the match against Australia. His brilliant hat-trick against South Africa almost helped Sri Lanka pull a rabbit out of the hat.
Shaheen Afridi has been outstanding for Pakistan. He set up the historic win for the team against India with a sensational spell. The delivery that he bowled to dismiss Rohit Sharma would have got the most good batters in the world out. Afridi has continued to impress with his probing left-arm pace.
Haris Rauf has been the surprise weapon for Pakistan in the T20 World Cup. He has bowled in excess of 150 kph. He provided solid support to Afridi in the match against India and did the star turn with a four-wicket haul versus New Zealand. The duo have spelt double trouble for opponents.
Namibia fast bowler Ruben Trumpelmann completes the playing XI for the week. He bowled a miraculous first over against Scotland, claiming three massive scalps in his first six balls. George Munsey, Calum MacLeod and stand-in skipper Richie Berrington were back in the hut in a jiffy and it was game, set, match Namibia.