unexpected defeat | sports



unexpected defeat

sThe Pakistan cricket team has been announced to participate in the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October and November. It is almost the same team that participated in the recently concluded Asian Cup in the UAE. The good news is that fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi will be there in Australia in full fitness.

An all-rounder, 26-year-old Aamir Jamal was selected for the T20 competition against England. His performance in the ongoing National T20 Cup forced pundits to give him a chance. He can replace Shadab Khan when he needs to rest.

Playing for Northern, Amer scored 221 runs, at an average of 36.83, in 11 T20 matches. But the important thing is that his batting average is over 178. He also took 13 wickets at an average of 27.76.

Last week, Asia Cup final favorites Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka by 23 runs in Dubai. The team that failed to qualify directly for the T20 World Cup lifted the Asian Cup.

A young Sri Lankan side with great fighting spirit deserved to win the Asian Cup as they bounced back in the tournament after losing their first match against Afghanistan. Their players performed as a team, not as individuals.

Sri Lanka won despite going down to 58 for 5. This was their only win in the competition after four consecutive chases.

Before the final match, in the rehearsal match against Sri Lanka, Pakistan were bowled out for just 121 runs. The people and team management were confident that the Greenshirts would bounce back and win the title quite convincingly. But the young Sri Lankan team outperformed Pakistan in all sections of the game.

When Sri Lanka were 58-5 in the ninth position it looked like a one-sided final and it ended like that but in favor of Sri Lanka.

With Dason Chanaka as captain, Sri Lanka were consistently beating Pakistan. Chanaka also led them to a 3-0 victory in the 2019 series. Prior to this lucrative tour, Sri Lanka had only five T20I wins against Pakistan in their 18 encounters.

There are a lot of flaws in the Pakistan team which need to be fixed before the upcoming T20 World Cup.

First of all, Pakistan needs strong openers who can score at a batting average of over 130, take advantage of the limitations of power play with their power batting and score more than 50 runs in their first six overs.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are undoubtedly one of the best opening pairs in the T20 format. Both have scored over 60 percent of Pakistan’s runs in T20Is since the start of the T20 World Cup last year. But the Asian Cup showed that they lack the ability to hit the head in the power play.

In the Asian Cup, Babar’s strike rate was 107.93 while Rizwan scored 117.57 – not enough when you’re chasing 170 plus points.

As an opening pair, their run rate is the second lowest of all full members of the power game. In their last 13 matches, they have scored 401 runs at an average level of 122.27.

In seven T20I matches this year, Babbar has scored just one fifty against Australia.

Shan Masood could be another option for the opening. In 2022, the left-hander is doing well. He scored 1,257 T20s at an impressive average of 136.68. While playing for Derbyshire, he remained the fifth-highest runs player with 547 runs in 14 innings at a strike rate of 139.89.

Sharjeel Khan is another option to open the half. His aggressive batting style in the Pakistan Premier League (PSL) earned him a place in Pakistan’s squad for the 2016 AFC Asian Cup and 2016 T20 World Cup, where he replaced the injured Babar.

Shargill scored his first T20I 50 off just 25 balls in his third match, and also scored 61 in his first One Day International. He has played 21 T20Is for Pakistan, scoring 406 runs at a strike rate of over 133.

With Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah, Muhammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan in the middle and low order, it looked like a very strong hitting line, but they all fell short when it mattered most. They were classed as hitters who could chase any target with their long batting, but none of them fulfilled their responsibility. Iftikhar, Khoshdil and Asif scored 105, 58 and 41 points respectively, at an average of 26.25, 14.50 and 8.20.

Iftikhar scored in his career only 24-T20I fifty-one – against Australia in 2019.

Asif is highly rated but in his 45 T20Is, he has never made a fifty. His strike rate of 136 is good, but his average of 15.86 shows his inconsistency. Most of the time he throws the wicket away when the team expects something big from him.

Left-handed power hitting Khushdil Shah scored an impressive fourth across T20s. He scored at a strike rate of 146 and averaged 27 on the domestic circuit. But in international matches, his highest score is 36 not out – in 2020. Over the past two years he has played 15 matches and his highest score of 35 came against Hong Kong.

With such performances from the middle order, how can a team compete in the World Cup against the top teams?

The Green Shirts need all-rounders like Shoaib Malik and Mohamed Hafeez in the centre, who are not only good finishers, but also bowlers on hand with safe pairs of hands at the back.

Head coach Saqlan Mushtaq defended Pakistan’s opening squad of Babar and Rizwan, especially Rizwan’s defensive starters, “Every team and player has their own style and methods, the way we played, we reached the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup last year, we got to the final of the T20 World Cup Asia is here. Evidence is that you’re doing something right to get here.”

Statistically Saqlan is right. Pakistan qualified for the final while India did not. However, Pakistan did not qualify for the final convincingly. The green-shirts have only won matches against India and Afghanistan in recent matches.

There were no major upper and middle order contributions in both victories. Against India, the all-rounder Muhammad Nawaz, who was promoted to No. 4, put in an unexpected performance. Surprising sixes by fast bowler Naseem Shah in the last over against Afghanistan propelled Pakistan into the final.

Pakistan’s strength was the bowling, led by Naseem and including Harris Rauf and Mohammed Hasnain.

Pakistan’s wicket-keeper, Mohammad Rizwan, was the highest bowler in the Asia Cup with 281 runs, including three fifties, at an average of 56.20, but his hitting rate was not as high as it should be as an opener.

On the other hand, former Indian captain Virat Kohli was behind him with 276 runs at a strike rate of 147.59. It has reached one hundred and two and a half centuries.

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