Dubai: In what can turn out to be a major blow for Pakistan, opener Mohammad Rizwan and middle-order batter Shoaib Malik are doubtful for the all-important semi-final clash against Australia in the T20 World Cup 2021 to be played on Thursday at the Dubai Internation Cricket Stadium.

There have been several reports in the media doing the rounds that both are down with flu and the team is hopeful that they will be able to recover for the knockout clash but it might just be a race against time with the semi-final set to begin in less than 24 hours.

According to a report in Pakistan’s Geo News, both Malik and Rizwan did not turn up for practice on the eve of the semifinal due to flu. Both of them have tested negative for Covid-19, however, the doctor has advised them to rest.

A final call on their participation will be taken following a medical check-up on Thursday morning.

Both Rizwan and Malik are a crucial part of the Pakistan batting unit. Especially attacking opener Rizwan is in the form of his life and has scored 214 runs in five games in the ongoing World Cup.

Malik, on the other hand, has shown his class at different stages during this tournament and made crucial runs in the middle-order. He smashed 50 off just 18 balls against Scotland, the joint-fastest in this World Cup with KL Rahul.

Pakistan will hope that both their key batters are available for the marquee fixture. And if they become unavailable, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali might replace Malik and Rizwan in the playing XI.

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan are the only unbeaten side so far in the ongoing tournament, having won all five games.

This will be Pakistan’s fifth appearance in the T20 WC semifinals. The 2009 champions have reached this stage in the four editions (2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012).

(With IANS Inputs)