After falling to chief rivals India and then to the West Indies, Pakistan survived a scare against Zimbabwe on Sunday to earn their first victory of the 2015 World Cup. The Pakistanis will seek another Pool B win when they face United Arab Emirates on Tuesday at McLean Park in Napier, New Zealand.
UAE have had their struggles in the World Cup. They were defeated by India by 9 wickets on Saturday, after previously losing to Ireland and Zimbabwe. They will face a Pakistani team that is looking to build off their momentum.
"It was really tough because it was a make or break game for us," said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said after the win over Zimbabwe. "You can't believe how happy we are because we were out of the tournament if we'd lost this game."
The cricket giants were able to squeak by against Zimbabwe after losing tough matchups to India and the West Indies. Pakistan have struggled with inconsistent batting, but might find motivation in Monday's win by South African over Ireland. The lopsided South African win can help Pakistan move up the table and dramatically weakened Ireland's net-run-rate. All of that improves Pakistan's chances to advance out of Pool B. Pakistani skipper Misbah addressed the rough start to the tournament, but remained hopeful. He referenced the country’s 1992 campaign in the 50-over World Cup, a win that came after a similarly poor beginning.
"Obviously (we'll) take some motivation from that (1992) situation, but what is important for us now is we just have to play well, and that's the simple scenario for us," Misbah said to reporters.
"I mean, we have to do it. We have to if we want to go into the next round. We have to really perform against the UAE and then against South Africa and then against Ireland.
"These are very important games for us. If we are unable to perform in one game, we could be out of this tournament."
Pakistan are normally considered a world power in cricket and are perennial contenders. UAE, on the other hand, would not normally be expected to provide much of a challenge. The squad began their World Cup campaign by losing three straight games. They did provide some challenges for Zimbabwe and Ireland, but were easily beaten by tournament frontrunner India. UAE will look to pull off an upset over a Pakistan side that are struggling to find their form.
UAE might need to rely on increased batting production from Andri Berenger. The usually reliable 23-year-old batsman has scored just 22, 13 and 4 in the first three games. Berenger, who will likely be No. 2 in the order against Pakistan, has struggled alongside opening partner Amjad Ali. UAE may look for them to improved and get the side moving in the correct direction. If nothing else, the side will look for better production than they had against India.
"Look, we had two good games to start with," skipper Mohammad Tauqir said to reporters. "We would like to forget about India and erase this game as soon as possible and would like to do well in the next three games and gain experience.
"This whole tournament is a learning experience for us."
The game will be between two sides rather familiar with one another. Nine of 15 players on UAE are of Pakistani origin, while the Pakistan squad uses the UAE as their home venue.
Match time: 2 p.m. local time, 1 a.m. GMT, 8 p.m. ET
TV channel: DISH Network, Mediacom and Time Warner Cable subscribers can watch the match via pay per view. More info here.
Live streaming info: Pakistan vs.UAE, and all matches, will be available via ESPN's digital subscription service, costing $99.