Imran Khan, the cricket great who went on to become prime minister of Pakistan, was injured in a targeted assassination attempt on Thursday, his supporters said.

The political party that he founded, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said the 70-year-old was attacked as the seventh day of a march began in Wazirabad.

Khan's political ally Farrukh Habib, who serves as the PTI's central information secretary, wrote on Twitter: "Imran Khan is injured, may Allah protect him, the whole nation should pray for the life of Imran Khan."

The PTI said it was an assassination attempt.

The party added: "Imran Khan is our Red Lion – today an attempt was made to cross that Red Lion!"

Reports said he had been shot in the leg. A video was posted on the PTI Twitter account showing Khan waving to supporters after the attack, with the party saying his condition was "stable" and that he would be taken to hospital.

Sibghatullah Virk, the head of PTI’s central media department, said: "The march was completely peaceful, this is a murderous attack!"

As a cricketer, Imran Khan was a fast bowling all-rounder who played 88 Tests, scoring 3,807 runs and taking 362 wickets, while also playing 175 ODIs.

He played his last Test in January 1992, ending his international career in March of the same year by leading Pakistan to victory at the Cricket World Cup, playing a starring role in the final against England at the MCG.

He became prime minister of Pakistan in August 2018 and was ousted after a no-confidence vote in April of this year.

David Miller expects South Africa to target Pakistan's struggling top order in Thursday's T20 World Cup clash.

The sides face off at the Sydney Cricket Ground in what is a must-win game for Pakistan, who need a victory to keep their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive.

Meanwhile, unbeaten South Africa head into the match on the back of a five-wicket victory over India.

Victory for the Proteas would see them return to the top of Group 2 and end Pakistan's hopes of qualifying in the process.

Pakistan's struggles have, in large part, been down to their misfiring top-order batters. Captain Babar Azam has accumulated just eight runs across his three innings in the tournament, while Mohammad Rizwan scored four and 14 against India and Zimbabwe respectively, before returning to form with 49 against the Netherlands last time out.

Miller knows Babar and Rizwan – who has scored 2,214 T20I runs since the start of 2021, the most of any batter – are still world class, but believes South Africa's in-form bowling attack are a match for any team.

He told reporters: "This game is all about confidence, and yeah, they haven't probably performed the way they've wanted to, but they're world-class players, and we're expecting them to come out and bring their A-game and be up for the challenge.

"It's by all means not just going in there and expecting to get them out first ball or early up. We've got to work really hard for every wicket, and hopefully we can get them early and the Pakistan middle order under pressure a little bit earlier than later."

South Africa pacemen Wayne Parnell (3-15) and Lungi Ngidi (4-29) limited India to 113-9 on Sunday, though the Proteas still relied on a solid partnership between Miller (59 not out) and Aiden Markram (52) to get over the line in Perth.

Miller is the most capped T20I player in South Africa's squad, and knows his experience is of huge benefit in the biggest moments.

"Experience is a really valuable thing," he said. "In the previous game, we were in a little bit of trouble, there was a lot of pressure to win the game and it's just about slowing the process down and understanding what is required right now. 

"In the past we maybe could have got a little hasty. It's just trying to weather the storm."

Pakistan have lost 11 T20Is in 2022, and one more defeat would see them equal their worst-ever tally in the format in a single year (12 in 2010).

South Africa on the other hand are aiming to bring up a 10th T20I win of the year, though they have lost their last two meetings with Pakistan in the format.

Mohammad Rizwan crafted a fluent 49 as Pakistan eased to their first victory and kept their hopes alive at the T20 World Cup after a six-wicket triumph over the Netherlands.

Babar Azam's side suffered final-over heartbreak against both India and Zimbabwe in Australia, though had little trouble at Optus Stadium after restricting the Netherlands to just 91-9 on Sunday.

Shadab Khan tore through the Dutch batting line-up, with the leg-spinner taking 3-22. Colin Ackermann's 27 from as many balls represented the only Netherlands batter to pass 20 runs.

Despite Babar being run out by Roelof van der Merwe for just four, Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman steadied the ship before the latter fell to Brandon Glover for 20, leaving Pakistan 53-2 from 7.1 overs.

Rizwan survived a review on 39, a decision overturned after Logan van Beek failed to get his hands under a chance from Fred Klaassen's bowling, though the wicket-keeper batter was dismissed soon after.

Paul van Meekeren (1-19) had Rizwan caught behind in the 13th over and Shan Masood (12) followed to Glover (2-22), though Iftikhar Ahmed (six not out) and Shadab (four not out) saw Pakistan over the line with 37 balls to spare.

Spin torments Netherlands

Shadab and Mohammad Wasim (2-15) did the damage as the Netherlands failed to deal with Pakistan's spin bowling.

Mohammad Nawaz went wicketless from his two overs but also conceded just 11 runs as Pakistan limited the Netherlands to a score that ensured no final-over chaos was in store for Babar's side.

Pakistan reliant on other results

Pakistan will have been delighted to see Fakhar, returning from a seven-week absence after a knee injury, bat fluently in the middle order as they picked up victory in a must-win game.

Yet even if Babar's side defeat South Africa and Bangladesh in their remaining Group 2 games, they will need other results to go their way to make the top two, starting with India beating the Proteas later on Sunday.

Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza says a clip of Australia great Ricky Ponting praising his form helped give him a "little push" to stun Pakistan in the T20 World Cup.

Raza, who was born in Pakistan, delivered a man-of-the-match performance with a three-wicket haul and a run-out to turn the tide in his side's favour for a shock one-run win in Perth.

The 36-year-old has been in excellent form this year, catching the eye of Ponting, who drew comparison to his former Australia team-mates Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

Speaking after Zimbabwe's dramatic victory on Thursday, Raza - who recorded figures of 3-25 - admitted the video clip, shown to him before the game, provided a little extra motivation to help his side record a famous upset.

"I know there was a small clip that was sent to me this morning, and it was Ricky Ponting having a small word," he stated. "I was excited. I was nervous.

"I was thrilled about today. Motivation was always there, but if I needed that little push, I thought that clip did a wonder this morning. So thank you very much to Ricky as well."

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, meanwhile, professed his frustration at his side's performance, but vowed they would deliver a response in their next Super 12 match against Netherlands.

"We were not up to the mark in the batting," he acknowledged. "We had a bad first six overs. Later on we finished well. We'll sit together and learn from our mistakes and come back hard next match."

Pakistan remain without a point after two defeats in Group 2 of the Super 12, while Zimbabwe have three points following their washout draw against South Africa.

Pakistan batsman Shan Masood admits his side "let it slip" in their shock T20 World Cup loss to Zimbabwe on Thursday.

Having restricted their rivals in Group 2 to 130-8, Babar Azam's side looked poised for a successful chase at Optus Stadium in Perth.

But a momentum-shifting spell with the ball from Sikandar Raza helped turn the match on its head and guide Zimbabwe to a famous upset, leaving Masood to acknowledge Pakistan fell short of their own expectations.

"We are very disappointed," he told BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra. "I don't think we're a batting unit that can't achieve a target of 130.

"We just had to finish the game off. It's very disappointing that, when push came to shove and [the] pressure came on, we let it slip.

"We have to give credit to Zimbabwe, they came out of the blocks quickly. Once you've got that start, however bad you play, you still get to a score that you can fight for."

Raza, the Pakistan-born Zimbabwe all-rounder, produced three wickets and the crucial run-out for the victors, and he admitted he was struggling to put his team's result into context.

"I'm lost for words," he added. "My thoughts are dry and I think that is because of all my emotions. I just can't tell you how proud I am of this group of boys.

"The way the seamers started at the top was unbelievable and the way we backed it up in the field and just kept believing, I don't think there are any words that I can share right now."

Zimbabwe beat Pakistan by one run in a sensational T20 World Cup encounter at Perth Stadium on Thursday.

The Chevrons recorded only their second T20I win against Pakistan in 18 meetings, despite setting a relatively modest target of 131.

A dramatic final over from Brad Evans (2-25) saw Zimbabwe clinch an unlikely victory, with Regis Chakabva running out Shaheen Shah Afridi off the last ball to leave Pakistan's semi-final hopes hanging by a threat after a dramatic loss to India.

After an opening stand of 42 from five overs, both Craig Ervine (19) and Wessly Madhevere (17) were out in quick succession, while Sean Williams was dropped on nine by Iftikhar Ahmed, before eventually departing for 31.

Pakistan took four wickets in six balls to leave Zimbabwe 95-7, but Ryan Burl (10 not out) and Evans (19) took them up to 130-8 - Mohammad Wasim (4-24) the pick of the bowlers.

Openers Babar Azam (and Mohammad Rizwan in the first five overs of the run chase, but Pakistan were in trouble on 94-6 when Shan Masood (44) departed after steadying the ship.

Masood was stumped off the bowling of the excellent  Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza (3-25) with his team still needing 37 runs from 29 balls.

Needing 11 from the final over, it looked like Pakistan were heading for the win, Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz taking seven off the first two balls.

However, requiring three from two,Nawaz (22) hit Evans straight to Ervine, and the incoming Afridi could only score a single off the final delivery, leaving Pakistan just short on 129-8.

Zimbabwe delight as Shaheens T20I misery continues

It has been a great start to Super 12 stage for Zimbabwe, sitting on three points from two games, albeit they were helped by the rain in securing a washout draw against South Africa.

Pakistan have now lost 11 T20I games since the beginning of 2022, only in 2010 have they lost more in a calendar year (12).

Pakistan bowlers did their job

Wasim (4-24) and Shadab Khan (3-23) took the bulk of the wickets, while Haris Rauf claimed great figures of 1-12 from his four overs.

Rauf conceded the second-fewest tuns by a Pakistan bowler in a men's T20 World Cup game of those to have bowled their full quota of four overs, behind Afridi - who took 4-11 against Netherlands in 2009.

Virat Kohli produced what captain Rohit Sharma hailed as one of the greatest innings by an India batsman in the dramatic victory over Pakistan at the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan looked to be well in control after tallying 159-8 in front of over 90,000 spectators at the MCG and then reducing India to 31-4 in reply.

However, Kohli struck 82 not out, sharing in a fifth-wicket stand of 113 with Hardik Pandya along the way.

When Pakistan's Mohammad Nawaz wobbled under the pressure of delivering the final over of the match, India took advantage and snatched a four-wicket win over their great rivals with a single from the final ball.

India needed 28 from eight balls at one stage, but consecutive sixes from Kohli off Haris Rauf at the end of the 19th over changed that to 16 from six.

Amid high drama as India lost both Pandya (40) and Dinesh Karthik (1) in the closing over, Kohli helped the team he used to skipper over the line.

Rohit said of Kohli's effort: "It is definitely his best for sure. From the situation we were in, and to come out with victory, I think it has to be one of India's best knocks, not just his best knock.

"Because still in the 13th over we were so behind the game and the required rate was climbing up and up. To come out and chase that score was an extremely brilliant effort from Virat, and Hardik played a role there."

Kohli ceded the white-ball captaincy to Rohit soon after last year's T20 World Cup, and Sunday's hero in Melbourne had been struggling for runs until recently finding a little spark.

Rohit said: "We know the qualities that he has, and he's done so well in these type of conditions in all three forms, so obviously he used his experience today more than anything else – staying calm under pressure.

"We know how good he is when the score is in front of him. He's one of the best chasers in the world, so I thought that 100-run partnership was a game-changing moment."

Kohli initially struggled to contextualise what he achieved.

He said at the post-match presentation: "It's a surreal atmosphere, I have no words, no idea how that happened. I am really lost for words.

"The calculation was simple. Nawaz had one over to bowl, so if I could take Haris down, they would panic. From 28 in eight, it came down to 16 in six. I tried to stick to my instincts."

On reflection, Kohli agreed it rated as one of his finest innings. He ranked it even above another famous 82 not out – one that he scored against Australia in Mohali, in the 2016 edition of this competition.

"Standing here, I just feel like it was meant to be," he said. "Till today, Mohali was my best innings, against Australia. Today, I will count this one higher."

Virat Kohli produced a remarkable innings as India pulled off an incredible and contentious victory over Pakistan, who suffered a collapse that will live long in the memory in their T20 World Cup opener.

Pakistan looked to be cruising to victory in the latest edition of this great rivalry, having posted 159-8 in front of over 90,000 fans at the MCG, where they then reduced India to 31-4.

Kohli (82 not out) was at his brilliant best as he rebuilt the innings alongside Hardik Pandya in a fifth-wicket stand of 113, but it still appeared as if it would not be enough.

India needed 31 off the final 12 balls, but successive sixes from Kohli, one down the ground and one over fine leg, on the final two deliveries of the penultimate over pulled them within 16.

Mohammad Nawaz took the wicket of Pandya off the first ball of the final over and conceded three off the next two, only to then lose his accuracy and composure at the worst possible time.

A high no-ball was hit for six by Kohli, giving India a free hit from which they controversially ran three despite the ball hitting the wickets. With India needing two off two balls, Dinesh Karthik was stumped, seemingly tilting the balance improbably back in Pakistan's favour. However, Nawaz then stunningly bowled a wide, giving Ravichandran Ashwin another delivery from which he hit the winning run to complete an astonishing turnaround.

Pakistan's pain 

Defeat for Pakistan means they have lost all four of the men's T20I matches they have played in Australia. It remains the only country in which they have not tasted victory.

That will surely change at some stage during the Super 12, but they and Nawaz will need picking up after somehow letting this one slip.

Vintage Virat

Kohli has recently rediscovered form that appeared beyond him in the shortest format earlier in the year, and this was the India legend at his very best.

He has posted a larger score five times during his T20I career, but none of those innings will carry the same significance as his key contribution to this bewitching spectacle.

Shan Masood is a doubt for Pakistan's opening game of the T20 World Cup against arch-rivals India after taking a blow on the head during training on Friday.

The batter was taken to hospital after he was struck during a practice session at the MCG.

It was revealed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that Masood's neurological observations are normal, with the left-hander suffering superficial bruising.

The 33-year-old is asymptomatic but will undergo another concussion test on Saturday.

If passed fit, Masood is expected to come in at number three for Pakistan when they take on India in a huge showdown in Melbourne on Sunday.

Fakhar Zaman, a late addition to the squad as a replacement for Usman Qadir, would be the most likely replacement for Masood if he misses out.

Pakistan travel to Perth to face Zimbabwe next Thursday after taking on India.

India will not travel to Pakistan for the 2023 Asia Cup, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India's secretary Jay Shah suggesting it will have to be moved to a different host nation.

The tournament, which was last held in the nation in 2008, was awarded to Pakistan following a decision to move the 2022 edition to Sri Lanka.

Though the latter was ultimately moved to the United Arab Emirates owing to an ongoing political and social unrest in Sri Lanka, plans had still appeared set for the 2023 edition to proceed as planned in Pakistan.

But now Shah, who is also the incumbent president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), says the tournament will be moved owing to India's refusal to travel.

"The Asia Cup 2023 will be held at a neutral venue," he told media after the BCCI's AGM. "I am saying this as ACC President.

"We [India] can't go there [to Pakistan], they can't come here. In the past also, Asia Cup has been played at a neutral venue."

The statement is likely to raise eyebrows, given the ACC have not officially discussed the matter, let alone made a decision on the tournament.

India have not played in Pakistan since the 2008 Asia Cup.

Pakistan, meanwhile, have not visited India since 2016 amid strained political relations between the countries.

The pair will meet in the T20 Men's World Cup in Melbourne on October 23.

Harry Brook and Ben Stokes impressed as England stormed to a six-wicket triumph over Pakistan at the Gabba in their final warm-up fixture before the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan set England a target of 161, led by opener Shan Masood top-scoring with 39 runs off 22 deliveries, while David Willey impressed with the ball by taking two wickets for England.

England opener Phil Salt was bowled by Naseem Shah for just one run, but a rapid innings from Stokes (36 off 18), coupled with Liam Livingstone's 28, put England in good stead to secure victory by the time of their dismissals.

Brook scored 45 not out from 24 balls and Sam Curran smashed an unbeaten 33 from just 14 to finish the job as England chased down Pakistan's total in just 14.4 overs.

England middle order impresses

With their openers producing a combined 10 runs off 16 balls, it fell on the middle order to win England the match, and they did so in thrilling fashion.

Stokes, Livingstone, Brook and Curran smashed the ball to all areas and accounted for all 12 of their team's sixes.

Each of that quartet finished with strike rates of at least 175 to help England to a morale-boosting victory before their World Cup campaign gets underway against Afghanistan on Saturday.

Jordan improves after tough start

Pakistan ended up on 160-8 from 19 overs, with the match shortened slightly due to a brief rain stoppage.

They had threatened a bigger total, with Chris Jordan smashed for 27 off his first two overs without taking a wicket, but the England bowler steadied the ship to finish with figures of 1-36 from four, including a final over which went for just three runs and included the wicket of Mohammad Wasim (26).

Jordan's bowling at the death ensured England's target was achievable, and they then chased it down comfortably.

Hosts Australia head into the T20 World Cup as defending champions, but no team has ever won back-to-back editions of this tournament.

The showpiece for international cricket's shortest format has provided some spectacular moments since South Africa staged the first edition 15 years ago.

West Indies are the only team to have carried off the trophy twice, and their long-time ring master Chris Gayle is absent this time, having not featured since the Caribbean side bowed out of the T20 World Cup last year.

With Gayle all but retired from internationals, and with others shuffling away, new stars will emerge over the coming weeks, and some established figures will be chasing records.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the T20 World Cup's top performers, and the spectacular feats from tournaments gone by that the class of 2022 will have in their sights.

Batters bid to go big in post-Gayle era

Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene is the only batter to have topped 1,000 runs in the history of the T20 World Cup, reaching 1,016 from 31 innings, spanning 2007 to 2014. He went out on a sensational high, passing the 1,000-run barrier in the final as Sri Lanka won the 2014 title by beating India in Mirpur.

Windies great Gayle sits second on that list with 965 runs, and is the only batter to have made two centuries in T20 World Cups. Those were also the fastest two tons in T20 World Cup history (47 balls v England in 2016, 50 balls v South Africa in 2007).

There are a number of batters who could join Jayawardene in reaching 1,000 runs at the T20 World Cup, but principal among them are the India pair of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Rohit replaced Kohli as skipper at the end of last year, following India's failure to get past the Super 12 stage at the World Cup, and there could be a friendly rivalry emerging in the race for four figures.

Rohit enters the tournament for top-ranked India on 847 runs in past editions, while Kohli has 845. Strikingly, Rohit's runs have come from 30 innings at an average of 38.50, whereas Kohli has plundered his in just 19 innings, and the latter's average of 76.81 is by far and away the best among all batters with 500-plus runs in the competition.

It helps, of course, that Kohli has finished unbeaten in eight of those knocks. The next highest average among such players is former England batter Kevin Pietersen's 44.61 (580 runs from 15 innings, two unbeaten).

The highest score by any batter in a single innings at the T20 World Cup remains the 123 that Brendon McCullum, now England's Test head coach, plundered for New Zealand against Bangladesh in Pallekele at the 2012 tournament. That was McCullum's highest score across his entire T20I career.

David Warner is another who could make it to 1,000 runs, but the Australia opener will need a big tournament to make that happen. He goes in on 762 runs from 30 prior innings, Cricinfo statistics show.

Only one batter has reached 500 T20 World Cup runs without making a fifty, and that was former India captain MS Dhoni, who skippered the team to the 2007 title. His best score in 29 innings, from which he accumulated 529 runs, was a modest 45.

Pakistan's Babar Azam dazzled at the 2021 T20 World Cup, scoring a tournament-high 303 runs in six innings.

His four half-centuries matched the most by any player in an edition of the tournament, the ICC said, having been previously achieved in 2014 by Kohli and in 2007 by Matthew Hayden.

Shakib, Mendis and Campher set standards for bowling elite

Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan is something of a T20 World Cup superstar. As well as ranking eighth on the run-scoring list (698 from 31 innings), the all-rounder has taken more wickets than anyone, with 41 at an average of 17.29.

A haul of 11 at the 2021 tournament took him top of the list, and there is nobody threatening to get particularly close to the 35-year-old spinner.

Among players selected for this tournament, the player with the next highest wicket haul is India's Ravichandran Ashwin, with 26 from 18 matches.

When it comes to T20 cricket, unsurprisingly there have been precious few five-wicket hauls, given the bowlers each have just a four-over allocation.

Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis is the only bowler to have snagged six in an innings, taking princely figures of 6-8 against Zimbabwe in 2012, while eight others have taken five wickets in a match, headed by Rangana Herath's remarkable 5-3 against New Zealand at the 2014 tournament, when the Black Caps were skittled for 60.

That ranks as the fourth-lowest team score in a T20 World Cup, with Netherlands responsible for the two worst totals, both times folding against Sri Lanka when making 39 at Chattogram in 2014 and 44 in Sharjah last year.

The other side to post a sub-60 score were West Indies, routed for 55 by England in Dubai 12 months ago.

A hat-trick represents the holy grail for all bowlers, and there have been just four in T20 World Cups, with Brett Lee taking the first for Australia against Bangladesh at the inaugural 2007 tournament.

There were no more until the 2021 tournament, which incredibly featured three: Curtis Campher took four wickets in four balls for Ireland against Netherlands, before Wanindu Hasaranga (for Sri Lanka against South Africa) and Kagiso Rabada (for South Africa against England) both managed three in three.

Fakhar Zaman has replaced Usman Qadir in Pakistan's squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Batter Fakhar was selected on Friday, as leg spinner Qadir has not yet recovered from the hairline fracture on his right thumb that he suffered during the recent series defeat to England.

Qadir will be a travelling reserve along with Mohammad Haris and Shahnawaz Dahani.

Fakhar will arrive in Brisbane from London on Saturday along with fit-again paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi and will be available for selection in the warm-up matches against England next Monday and Afghanistan two days later.

The 31-year-old left-hander was out first ball in his last T20I appearance, a defeat to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final just over a month ago.

He has played for his country 71 times in the shortest format, scoring 1,349 runs at an average of 21.75.

Pakistan start their quest to win the World Cup by taking on arch-rivals India at the MCG on October 23.

Pakistan T20 World Cup squad:

Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood.

It has been a long time coming but the T20 World Cup will finally get under way in Australia on Sunday.

Two years later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament will start with Sri Lanka taking on Namibia at Kardinia Park followed by the United Arab Emirates versus the Netherlands at the same venue on Sunday.

There will be six days of qualifying matches to decide which four teams will go through to the Super 12, which starts with a repeat of last year's final between holders Australia and New Zealand on October 22.

You could make a case for several teams being strong contenders to lift the trophy at the MCG on November 13.

Stats Perform picks out some of the storylines to look out for in a tournament that will be well worth the wait.

 

Windies and Sri Lanka should avoid shock early exit

The only team to have won the T20 World Cup twice is West Indies, but they failed to secure direct qualification for the Super 12 on this occasion.

They lost four out of five matches as defending champions in the United Arab Emirates last year, a crushing six-wicket defeat to England setting the tone as they were skittled out for a pitiful 55.

Nicholas Pooran's side will face Scotland, Zimbabwe, Ireland at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart and will be expected to advance from Group B.

Sri Lanka were crowned Asia Cup champions last month and ought to have no trouble in advancing from a Group A that also includes the Netherlands, the UAE and Namibia.

On a high from lifting the trophy in Dubai, Dasun Shanaka's men could be dangerous if they made it through to the Super 12 as expected.

 

Hosts in quest to make history

Australia ended their wait for a first T20 World Cup title in Dubai last year at the expense of the Black Caps, Mitchell Marsh blasting an unbeaten 77 in the final to seal an eight-wicket win.

No team has won back-to-back T20 World Cup titles, so the hosts have an opportunity to make history on home soil.

Tim David has emerged as another potential match-winner that has bolted his way into the squad and he is capable of making a big impact, while big things will be expected from the likes of David Warner with the bat.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are a formidable pace trio and leg-spinner Adam Zampa brings an X-Factor. Australia have a great chance of achieving a feat no other side has accomplished.

Can India make amends?

India were strongly fancied to win the rearranged T20 World Cup last year, but their challenge was all-but over soon after it had started.

They were consigned to a 10-wicket thrashing by fierce rivals in Pakistan in their first match and still looked shellshocked when New Zealand hammered them by eight wickets.

Virat Kohli stepped down as captain after that failure, with Rohit Sharma the skipper of what is another star-studded squad.

The loss of paceman Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja to injury were huge blows, but India will be expected to mount a strong challenge as the top-ranked side in the world and batter Suryakumar Yadav can make a big impact.

Buttler to deliver in first tournament as skipper?

England looked unstoppable in the World Cup last year until they were knocked out by New Zealand at the semi-final stage.

Jos Buttler has since taken over as captain after Eoin Morgan retired from international cricket, and Matthew Mott was appointed as head coach.

Buttler has recovered from injury for what will be his first tournament as skipper and will look to produce the sort of form he did in the 2021 World Cup, in which he averaged a staggering 89.66.

England have huge firepower with the bat, while Reece Topley, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid are among the bowlers Buttler will be counting on to step up as they strive to lift the trophy for a second time.

 

Proteas a force to be reckoned with

South Africa have never been beyond the semi-final of a T20 World Cup, but there is every chance this could be their year.

Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje are a hostile trio of pace bowlers and they also have the wizardry of spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

The absence of Rassie van der Dussen is a big loss, but the Proteas are not short of explosive batting with the likes of Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Rillee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs to call upon.

Will Jacks is the new face in England's Test squad as captain Ben Stokes recalled a host of old hands to the fold for December's tour of Pakistan.

The Surrey all-rounder, already capped at white-ball level, is the lone maiden call-up to a 15-man party headlined by the return of Mark Wood for the first time since March.

Keaton Jennings and Ben Duckett return for the first time since 2019 and 2016 respectively after superb domestic campaigns with Lancashire and Nottinghamshire. 

There is no Stuart Broad, however, after the bowler opted to remain at home for the birth of his first child. Paceman Jamie Overton is included following a Test debut against New Zealand earlier this year.

Liam Livingstone will be chasing a first cap, having last been included in a Test squad in 2018, while form batsman Jonny Bairstow is absent through the injury that has ruled him out of the T20 World Cup.

Former captain Joe Root, alongside James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope and Ollie Robinson, make up the rest of Brendon McCullum's party.

"We are looking forward to touring Pakistan as a Test team for the first time since 2005," ECB director Rob Key stated. "It will be a historic tour and a compelling series against a good side. The selectors have picked a squad for the conditions we can expect.

"There is a strong blend of youth and experience and players who will adapt well to the types of pitches we are likely to get across the three-match series. I wish the players every success, especially those new to the squad and those returning after a period of time away."

England squad; Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Mark Wood.

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