Our Pick West Indies are favourites to win
West Indies will begin their tour of the United Arab Emirates with a 3-match T20I series against Pakistan. The Dubai International Cricket Stadium is set to host the first of these games on September 23. Pakistan's last T20I action came in England where they beat the hosts in a one-off contest. West Indies' last T20I fixture was washed out but they had defeated India in the preceding match. So both the teams are coming with wins in their previous matches and will look to build on the momentum. Pakistan vs West Indies 1st T20I will begin at 8 PM local time.
Read on for our betting tips and match prediction for Pakistan vs West Indies first T20 international...
172 and 160 are the first-innings scores of the two most recent T20Is played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. 150+ have been achieved five times while batting first in the last 10 matches here. This includes the 211 made by Sri Lanka in December 2013. So the pitch has played well and 160-170 should be a good first-innings total.
The side batting first has won six of the last ten matches as well as the last three matches at this ground. Toss, therefore, is going to play a big role in this match and whoever wins it is likely to bat first.
West Indies are an explosive T20 batting unit and they will have a strong hold on the match if they win the toss and bat first.
Predicted Score: Around 150
Umar Akmal returns to the side and he has been the top performer with the bat for Pakistan in T20Is. In this format, he has scored the most runs for his team and also against the West Indies at an average of 32.33. He, therefore, is more likely to top-score for Pakistan in this match. If he gets the big runs with contributions from Sharjeel Khan at the top and Sarfraz Ahmed from the middle order, Pakistan should be able to reach the predicted score.
Dwayne Bravo is the one among the West Indian pace attack that the Pakistani batsmen will look to be the most watchful against. He was the best bowler against India in Florida, had a good World T20 in India and is the highest wicket-taker for West Indies in T20Is. Although he is yet to pick up a wicket against Pakistan in T20Is, we expect him to be the top bowler for his side. Spinners Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree are the leading wicket-takers against Pakistan in T20Is and the two could do well here in these conditions. If West Indies remove Akmal and Sarfraz early in their innings, Pakistan could end up short of 150.
Predicted Score: Around 170
Johnson Charles has scored good runs in his previous two T20I outings against India with scores of 79 and 43. The opening batsman seems to be in great touch and he could top-score against Pakistan in this first T20I. Marlon Samuels - the top run-getter for West Indies in the World T20 - is going to be another important batsman. Dwayne Bravo has made the most runs against Pakistan in T20Is, and he will be their best man in the middle-order. West Indies will be looking at these three batsmen to take the team's total to around 170.
Pakistan will probably start off with Mohammad Amir, Sohail Tanvir and Wahab Riaz who make up the team's strong pace bowling lineup. While Amir has been Pakistan's best bet with the new ball, Tanvir has excellent numbers against his name in T20 cricket. Of all the bowlers from this squad, Tanvir has taken the maximum T20I wickets for his team and has decent figures in the two T20Is he has played against the Windies. Imad Wasim is their best spinner, and considering his recent bowling performances, he is expected to do a good job in this match. West Indies have depth in their batting, and so Pakistan will have to keep striking at regular intervals if they do not want to be chasing a huge target.
Pakistan and West Indies have played a total of four T20 internationals against each other and both have won two games each. Their most recent face-off at the 2014 World T20 in Dhaka was won by the West Indies. The two teams have not met in a T20I in the UAE before.
Pakistan are not doing too well in 20-overs cricket as they have not won even half of the matches they have played this year. Out of the 12 T20Is, they have won just 5 and lost 7 of them. Moreover, they have faced defeats in three of their last four matches. Also, Pakistan's record at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium is ordinary at best. Since 2009, they have played 19 matches here with wins in only 8 of them - a win percentage close to 45.
West Indies, on the contrary, have emerged as a powerful T20 side over the years. They have won the World T20 twice and are the current champions in this format, having won the World T20 this year in India. Their T20 record in 2016 has so far been fantastic with only 1 loss in the 7 completed matches. They have wins in their previous three matches and are looking a formidable force in T20 cricket.
The only issue is that West Indies have never played a T20I in the UAE before and they just have one warm-up game to get accustomed to the conditions. But otherwise, we feel that West Indies who are ladened with all-rounders are better placed to win this first T20 international.
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