Saim Ayub in, Iftikhar Ahmed out: Pakistan's likely XI for Canada match

Sources say skipper Babar Azam will decide on Saim's inclusion in place of Iftikhar before toss today

By
Syed Yahya Hussaini
A combo of images showing Pakistan's batters Iftikhar Ahmed (left) and Saim Ayub. — AFP/PCB/File

NEW YORK: After suffering consecutive losses in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024, the Pakistan team's management is likely to replace Iftikhar Ahmed with Saim Ayub in the playing XI in today's match against Canada, Geo News reported citing sources.

The sources say that the decision to include Saim in place of Iftikhar will be made by skipper Babar Azam before the toss ahead of today's must-win match set to take place at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

Meanwhile, there's an "atmosphere or mourning" in the team's camp following Sunday's defeat as the players even avoided going out of the hotel they're staying at, the sources added.

The possible change in the team's line up comes after Iftikhar, during his two outings against the United States and arch-rivals India, only managed to score 22 and five runs, respectively.

In the first match, the US secured a five-run victory over the Green Shirts in the Super Over, whereas in the latter, the Men in Green failed to chase down a modest 120-run target courtesy of batting line's collapse.

With two defeats, the national side has zero points with no victory in their previous two games. Meanwhile, India and US are on top of the points table with 4 points, as they won their previous two undertakings.

The Green Shirts are now heavily dependent on not just winning their next two games — against Ireland and Canada — but also US to lose their next two against India and Ireland.

Even if Pakistan anyhow nail it down, the story will not end yet as they would have to have a better net run rate (NRR) than the US to secure a berth in the Super Eight stage.

On the other hand, if the US win one more match, Pakistan will not have to be bothered about the NRR anymore as they will definitely not be entering the next stage.