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T20 World Cup: Hussain feels England and Pakistan are the strongest sides in the tournament

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Abu Dhabi, Oct 28 (IANS) Former England captain Nasser Hussain feels that England and Pakistan are the strongest sides in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. At the same time, he believes that India could come back stronger after suffering a ten-wicket loss at the hands of Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday and pointed out Australia to have a great chance in entering the semi-finals.

“England and Pakistan have both made great starts and I think India will come again after losing that first game so emphatically against Pakistan. They are the sides who look the strongest to me at the moment and, with South Africa weakened by the possible absence of Quinton de Kock, Australia have a great chance to join them in the last four,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail on Thursday.

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Hussain was also of the opinion that England’s match against Australia on Saturday will be a tough one and has predicted Eoin Morgan’s men to possibly meet India in the semi-finals. “The Aussies will certainly provide England with their toughest test so far in Dubai on Saturday, but Morgan and his team are perfectly placed now to progress to the final stages of this tournament. You can be sure they won’t take their foot off the gas – they will keep adjusting to conditions and they will keep improving.”

“The next week will be about confirming their qualification for the semi-finals and then preparing themselves for knockout cricket because the way it’s going, they could easily face a last-four clash against India. That’s when they really will have to be ready.”

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Hussain mentioned his worry about England’s middle order not getting much time at the crease, which might cause their undoing in a knock-out match. “The only other area of relative concern is that England have played so well, the batsmen in their middle order who have been short of runs in recent times — Morgan and Livingstone — are not getting opportunities to get into nick. They could suddenly find themselves in a knockout game in a pressure situation and immediately need to hit their straps. But they could get those chances before then in the three remaining group games.”

Talking about England’s eight-wicket win against Bangladesh, Hussain was happy with Jason Roy’s knock of 61 setting the base for a successful chase of 125. “With Jason Roy looking in great touch and England knocking off another below-par target in style, they are looking every inch the best T20 side in the world and now they just have to keep that going. This was a good pitch to play Bangladesh on because it wasn’t that slow and the ball wasn’t spinning much.”

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Hussain signed off by saying that Bangladesh wasn’t in their usual elements and were missing opener Tamim Iqbal at the top. “They are missing Tamim Iqbal as he can get them off to flying starts but there was little of the aggression, passion and heart we usually see from them. Instead, Bangladesh were meek and their supporters would have expected to see more by now from experienced players like Shakib, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim. But England made sure they were always on the back foot.”

–IANS

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