Captains Sarfraz Ahmed and Cralos Brathwaite before the series © Getty Images
Captains Sarfraz Ahmed and Carlos Brathwaite before the series © Getty Images

After a tight series with England at their home, Pakistan are all set to play against West Indies in UAE. UAE is Pakistan’s home away from home and the team has a lot of experience of playing there. The two teams are scheduled to play three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Tests in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The series starts with the limited-overs format games and teams will then proceed to play in Tests. The visiting side will be led by Carlos Brathwaite while the Pakistan team will be led by Sarfraz Ahmed in the T20Is. The first T20I will be played at Dubai on September 23.

Pakistan’s series in England has been a remarkable one. With it, the team got their frontline pacer Mohammad Aamer in Tests. Aamer, though not as successful with the wickets, looked really promising and will be expected to get into wickets soon. Apart from Aamer, there will be Wahab Riaz for whom the series will be important, looking at the fact that the bowler has not been much consistent.

West Indies, on the other hand, will be confident walking into the T20I series. The team are the current world champions in the 20-overs format and have performed well in the recent T20I series against India in Florida. However, the team has a lot of young players in the team for the series, just like the Pakistan side. The series will be a great parameter to check on the youngsters to build the core team stronger and find potential options. Before the first T20I, here are the key battles that can be expected. READ: Pakistan vs West Indies, 1st T20I, Preview and Predictions: Riveting contest between two in-form teams

Mohammed Aamer vs Johnson Charles: Though Aamer has made his comeback across formats, the player is yet to be as successful with wickets as he was expected to. Aamer’s bowling has been really commendable, the best part being his accuracy in line. There were many occasions when the bowler remained unlucky to not get a wicket. Playing more and more, the player is now again used to with the constant playing schedule and will do even better.

Johnson Charles on the other hand is someone with a lot of experience in the limited-overs format. The player has provided his side with strong start at instances and will be expected to execute a similar job this time as well. Charles has the tendency to step out, loves to play in the leg-side and can pull the ball hard. Aamer’s varied lengths can end his innings early on while short length balls will be hammered owing to the powerful pair of hands he has.

Jason Holder vs Khalid Latif: It is a crucial series for both the players and that is why, both Holder and Latif will look to give their hundred per cent. Latif is one of those options that Pakistan are looking forward to fill their opening spot. The right-hand batsman has made fewer appearances compared to his age and this series is his chance to prove his worth and secure his spot. Latif can serve as the perfect partner to southpaw Sharjeel Khan. The batsman will have to pull off the similar role of that of Charles in the opponent team. The batsman has decent footwork as well as a range of shots and a lot of power that makes him a perfect choice for the limited-overs format.

Holder has not has a very good time recently. Having lost the captaincy to Carlos Brathwaite, it is time for Holder to perform and prove himself to be one crucial bowler who the team needs. Another positive for the player is that he can bat well down the order, which makes him a bowling all-rounder. Holder, who will be among the bowlers to bowl early towards the innings, can get the opener.

Sarfraz Ahmed vs Sunil Narine: This is one battle that may turn the tables for the two teams. Sarfraz is one of the most experienced and talented players the side has. Being the captain as well, Sarfraz will look to lead the side by setting an example with his own performance. He has played exceptionally well lately and is expected to carry the form into this series as well. Sarfraz has evolved from being just a middle-order batsman to becoming the pillar of the middle-order with improved techniques.

Narine has long been one of West Indies’ hopes as far as spin is concerned. In a land where pacers dominate, Narine is a rare find and he is able to produce spin where it is least expected. Sarfraz, who will come out to bat later in the innings, will face Narine for a good amount of time and the one who wins the battle will take his team closer to victory.

Imad Wasim vs Kieron Pollard: It is experience vs raw talent as Imad faces Pollard. Pollard, who is known for his typical and fearless slog hitting will face Imad for the first time. The all-rounder has impressed with his bowling as well as middle-order batting in England. Pollard has faced world class spinners in subcontinent conditions, where the ball spins the most and is equally potent to stand and deliver against pacers. It will be interesting to see if Imad can get the big gun.

Samuel Badree vs Umar Akmal: Umar Akmal has been recalled to the Pakistan side after a period of sitting out and it is highly unlikely that he will let go this chance. The player executed some perfect late cuts while was impressive to adjust according to the pitch and play big shots comfortably in Pakistan’s recent T20 Cup 2016. He has consistently been in runs and will be expected to play a big knock in the series.

Badree, on the other hand, has been exceptional with the ball lately. The bowler was among the heroes to take West Indies to the success that the team tasted in ICC World T20 2016. Umar Akmal is not among the players known to play well against spin and that is what hands the advantage to Badree. Who will win the battle, Badree’s spin or Umar Akmal’s strength?

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)