West Indies will play host to Pakistan in a four-match T20 series beginning on Wednesday, with both sides looking to get back to winning ways.
The hosts come into the series on the back of an ODI series defeat against Australia, in which they were beaten 2-1. Captain Kieron Pollard was furious afterward, claiming the pitches used were “absolutely ridiculous” and “unacceptable for international cricket”.
As for Pakistan, they arrive in Barbados having lost both an ODI and T20 series away in England.
Coming off second best in the 50-over format was particularly galling, given the fact the Three Lions had to play without virtually their entire first-team due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
It will certainly be a contest between two sides who have plenty to prove, in what will be their sixth bilateral T20 series.
Babar to Step Up Once More
Pakistan’s talisman Babar Azam is currently ranked the second-best T20 batsman in the world, only trailing England’s Dawid Malan.
The 26-year-old, who leads the batting charts in the ODI rankings, has become a player whom Pakistan rely so much upon, but he is usually there to deliver.
Even though they underachieved in their recent stint in England, captain Babar still managed a knock of 85 in the first match at Trent Bridge.
The skipper is aided so much by partner Mohammad Rizwan and the duo have proved time and time again they are one of the most deadly in white-ball cricket, with Rizwan making scores 50-plus in two of the three T20s versus England.
Lewis to Lead Windies
Despite their recent ODI loss against Australia, the hosts did manage a 4-1 T20 win in the weeks prior, so confidence won’t be too low.
Batsman Evin Lewis enjoyed a strong ending to that series and managed to hit a stylish 79 off just 34 balls in the fifth match, while he grabbed another half-century in the final match of the ODI loss.
Back in July, the 29-year-old became just the third ever batsman along with Chris Gayle and Brandon McCullum to score T20 International centuries, and he will look to continue his fantastic run of form against Pakistan.
Head to Head Stands Pakistan in Good Stead
Pakistan have an ominously good record when facing the West Indies and they will look to use that as a springboard ahead of Wednesday’s first match at the Kensington Oval.
They have won four of their last five T20s against the West Indies and 11 from 14.
Impressively, seven of those have victories have come away from home soil, proving they have no trouble at all in adjusting to different conditions.
The last time the two sides played in the Caribbean was in 2017 and Pakistan won that series 3-1.
There will also be a motivation within the tourists’ camp to try and get the whitewash, as it would elevate them to third in the ICC T20 world rankings above New Zealand.