Pakistan’s incredible run in the opening days of the tournament mean they were the first team to confirm their place in the semi-final, and also the only ones able to relax at the business end of the Super 12 stage. Now, having enjoyed a break of four days, they can use the match against Scotland to get back into tournament mode and polish their plans ahead of the knockout stages.
Although their place in the top two is confirmed, a win here will ensure they finish first in Group 2, and take on the second place finisher in Group 1 in the semis.
For Scotland, it’s another chance to learn from the best. Since their win against Bangladesh in their first game of round one, they haven’t been able to challenge the higher ranked sides as consistently as they might have liked in the Super 12 stage.
After showing good fight against New Zealand, they were swept away by India. But they are hungry to improve.
“Just the conversations following the game versus India have been positive,” said Kyle Coetzer, the captain. “The fact that we’re so disappointed losing the manner in which we did and the opportunities that were created to go and speak to some of the finest players in the world yesterday was a real special moment. The guys have learned more in the last two or three games than they have in probably the last three, four years, I reckon.”
Facing the likes of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan’s in-form openers, would be a similarly “exciting” experience, Coetzer said. “We have to go in there respecting them but also willing to go and try and take them on, too.”
Having already confirmed their place in the semi-finals, Pakistan may choose to rest some of their pace bowlers. They might also be tempted to give Haider Ali or Mohammad Nawaz a game, though will be wary that a slip-up opens the door to a second-place Group 2 finish and a match against England.
Probable XI: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
Scotland may not tweak their combination much. They could bring in Hamza Tahir for another left-arm spin option.
Probable XI: George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer (capt), Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, Michael Leask, Matthew Cross (wk), Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Safyaan Sharif, Alasdair Evans/Hamza Tahir, Brad Wheal