Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra said that only one between India and Pakistan will qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2022. The mega event will be played in Australia, with the qualifiers scheduled to start on October 16.
The arch-rivals India and Pakistan will take on each other in the opening Group 2 encounter in Melbourne on October 23. In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra predicted that either India or Pakistan will play alongside South Africa as the two semi-finalists from Group 2 as well.
“Two teams out of India, Pakistan and South Africa will go ahead. They (Pakistan) should reach the semi-finals but it will not be easy. I am saying only one out of India and Pakistan will make it. Whoever wins the India-Pakistan match will make it, I feel South Africa will make it,” he explained.
Adding further, Aakash Chopra also picked all-rounder Shadab Khan as Pakistan’s most crucial player heading into the marquee event. The former India cricketer reasoned:
“I feel Shadab Khan will be their most valuable player. You might see Shadab batting at No. 4 and bowling. The grounds here are going to be extremely big and Shadab’s performance should remain good.”
Shadab Khan made a crucial 34-run contribution in Pakistan’s league phase win against New Zealand in the ongoing tri-series as well. Moreover, he picked up three wickets in five games.
“Rizwan’s form is more important than Babar’s” – Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra named Mohammad Rizwan as Pakistan’s likely top run-getter at the T20 World Cup ahead of skipper Babar Azam, considering his form as well. He explained:
“I am saying Rizwan to be the highest run scorer. Babar makes runs but makes them slightly slow. Babar also comes in his form and rhythm, plays match-winning knocks, when Rizwan fires. Rizwan gets a lot of criticism but in my opinion, Rizwan’s form is more important than Babar’s.”
Speaking of Pakistan’s bowling, Aakash Chopra reckoned that Haris Rauf will be Pakistan’s most successful bowler. He again elaborated:
“Everyone will say Shaheen Shah Afridi will take the most wickets but I am saying Haris Rauf will do that. Haris Rauf has very bright chances of taking the most wickets. There could be a terror of Haris Rauf as he had started his career here only, he had come as a net bowler in the BBL (Big Bash League).”
Notably, Rauf came into the limelight after his performances for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League. He knows the conditions down under and it will help him in the tournament as well.