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Pakistan's Captain Babar Azam celebrates after scoring a half-century with Pakistan's Muhammad Rizwan 1920x1080

Pakistan and England opening pairs compared ahead of T20 World Cup Final

With Pakistan and England both looking to a dynamic opening pair to put them on the path to ICC Men's T20 World Cup glory, we compare the partnerships set to light up the Final.

Pakistan and England showed in their emphatic semi-final victories how pivotal a potent Powerplay can be, and each have the openers to target another blistering start in the T20 World Cup Final.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan entered the tournament as the most dangerous partnership in the format, but it took until their semi-final against New Zealand for them to click with a 105-run stand.

That was their third century partnership in T20 World Cups, a new record to go with the nine they have scored in all T20Is which is four more than the next best.

Video T20 World Cup 12 Nov 22
Pakistan v England Preview | Final | T20WC 2022
England and Pakistan face off in Melbourne for the ultimate prize in T20I cricket, in a repeat of the match-up and venue for the 1992 Cricket World Cup Final

But England duo Jos Buttler and Alex Hales outdid the Pakistan pair in their semi-final thumping of India, with an unbroken 170-run stand that set a new benchmark for all partnerships at a T20 World Cup.

With all four openers finding form at the right time, we look at how they compare in the ICC MRF Tyres Men's T20I Batting Rankings, their career records, and - perhaps most importantly - with their performances so far at this T20 World Cup.

Babar Azam

The Pakistan skipper endured a rare dip in form with only 14 runs in four innings to start the T20 World Cup but has since been on a path to peaking at the right time.

A patient 25 off 33 balls in the crucial clash with Bangladesh helped secure Pakistan a semi-final spot, but Babar then ensured they took the next step with a stylish 53 from 42 balls against New Zealand.

The 28-year-old can be hard to move once he gets going and will be hoping to match the 110* from 66 balls, and 87* from 59 balls, that he smashed against England in their recent T20I series in Pakistan.

T20I Batting Ranking

Current ranking: 4
Highest ranking: 1 (from 27 January 2018)

T20 World Cup 2022

Matches: 6
Runs: 92
Average: 15.33
Strike rate: 87.61

T20I career record

Matches: 98
Runs: 3323
Average: 41.53
Strike rate: 127.95

Video T20 World Cup 09 Nov 22
Rizwan, Babar demolish New Zealand pacers | T20WC 2022
Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam have started brightly for Pakistan in their chase of New Zealand's 153-run target in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final.

Mohammad Rizwan

The Pakistan keeper-batter enjoyed a rapid rise in the T20I batting rankings in 2020 but has since entrenched himself as arguably the most reliable opener in the format.

Rizwan had not quite matched that with his impact at the T20 World Cup until cruising to 57 from 43 balls in the semi-final triumph over New Zealand.

The 30-year-old is a master of finding the right balance between attack and defence, especially during the Powerplay, and looms as crucial to Pakistan’s chances in the decider.

T20I Batting Ranking

Current ranking: 2
Highest T20I Ranking: 1 (from 8 September 2022)

T20 World Cup 2022

Matches: 6
Runs: 160
Average: 26.66
Strike rate: 109.58

T20I career record

Matches: 79
Runs: 2620
Average: 49.43
Strike rate: 126.75

Video T20 World Cup 09 Nov 22
Rizwan half-century powers Pakistan to T20 World Cup final | Highlights | T20WC 2022
Mohammad Rizwan powered Pakistan to the final with a brilliant 43-ball 57 against New Zealand in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final.

Jos Buttler 

The England skipper made a slow start to the T20 World Cup but showed his prowess in the pivotal Super 12 clash with New Zealand.

Buttler blasted the Black Caps for 73 off 47 balls, then bettered that with an unbeaten 80 from 49 balls in the semi-final against India, to have 199 runs at the tournament - the fifth-most in the Super 12 stage. 

The 32-year-old has barely skipped a beat since taking over the captaincy in July and is peaking at the right time to be on the verge of leading England to T20 World Cup glory.

T20I Batting Ranking

Current ranking: 13
Highest ranking: 8 (from 5 November 2021)

T20 World Cup 2022

Matches: 5
Runs: 199
Average: 49.75
Strike rate: 143.16

T20I career record

Matches: 102
Runs: 2576
Average: 34.81
Strike rate: 144.15

Video T20 World Cup 10 Nov 22
Buttler half-century rubs salt in India's wounds | T20WC 2022
Jos Buttler scores a half-century as well as England raced towards their 169-run target against India.

Alex Hales 

It has been a remarkable career resurgence for the England opener who, for multiple reasons, did not play a T20I between March 2019 and September 2022.

But since returning to the England setup following the injury to Jonny Bairstow, the 33-year-old has shown why he rose to No.1 in the T20I batting rankings in 2013.

Hales has scored quickly and heavily at the T20 World Cup, with scores of 47 or more in his last three innings to have the third-most runs in the Super 12 stage with 211.

T20I Batting Ranking

Current ranking: 35
Highest ranking: 1 (from 30 August 2013)

T20 World Cup 2022

Matches: 5
Runs: 211
Average: 52.75
Strike rate: 148.59

T20I career record

Matches: 74
Runs: 2073
Average: 31.40
Strike rate: 138.47

Video T20 World Cup 04 Nov 22
Alex Hales grasping second chance with England | T20WC 2022
England’s big-hitting opener Alex Hales is grabbing his second chance with both hands at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.


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