Pakistan vs England, the perfect opportunity for Pakistan Cricket team to win the match and go one-up in the series.
Pakistan vs England 2nd ODI: When Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss; however, things went downhill from there and despite a resurgence from the batsmen, it was always going to be a win for the hosts who came better prepared to the match than the visitors from another continent. Let’s analyze what went wrong with Pakistan Cricket team in Southampton and how they could save themselves from embarrassment in upcoming matches.
Going with the best team!
Pakistan has been one of those Cricket playing nations who are unbeatable on their given day; like other teams, they have world-class cricketers but what sets them apart from others is that they are their own enemy. No team in the world would have rested their main batsmen and bowlers ahead of the mega event but we did and sent a second string team to the UAE to face the mighty Aussies. That’s one of the reasons why to this day, they haven’t been able to decide the batting order, the bowling attack, the main spinner and above all, Sarfaraz’s own batting position. With just three more matches to go, Pakistan will have to go all out and try all possible combinations otherwise we might be the first team to exit the mega event for no fault of others.
The Imam of all problems
He may be a prolific scorer but Imam ul Haq’s slow batting in ODIs is the main reason why the team has been winning less against formidable sides; in his 26 innings so far, he has scored at the rate of 90 plus runs per hundred balls just three times, all against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo last year.
Since then his strike rate has gone down even against teams like Hong Kong (69-ball 50 not out), Afghanistan (104-ball 80), Bangladesh (105-ball 83) and so forth. His last 10 innings have seen him score runs at a strike rate of 47, 85, 35, 87, 78, 80, 63, 64, 62 and 80 which might have been ideal in the 90s when his uncle Inzamam ul Haq used to play but today, it is not.
Only he and Haris Sohail scored at less than 80 runs per 100 balls in the high-scoring match on Sunday and just imagine how different it would have been had they played a little quicker!
Think out of the box
You can’t win a match without planning and the sooner Mickey Arthur realizes that the better. It seems that there is a lack of planning in the Pakistan camp where the coach runs the team as if they are still playing in the Pakistan Super League. Why is Mohammad Amir, Pakistan’s finest bowler sitting out with Junaid Khan who would have made it into any side, anywhere, any time! Why are we still persisting with support bowlers as strike bowlers (Shaheen Afridi, Faheem Ashraf, and Hasan Ali) now that the experiment seems to be failing!
Hasan Ali did well at the Champions Trophy two years back because he had a role, to take wickets in the middle and death overs. Same goes for Shaheen Afridi who is a future prospect and should be treated with care, not to be used as a replacement for Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir. Similarly, not using Abid Ali who has shown that he can score at a faster rate, is a mistake that will cost Pakistan big time. There is no hard and fast rule to use him as an opener and he could be used at some other number. If he does well in the limited opportunities he might get.
Realize it is 2019…
Gone are the days when teams used to be content with 250 runs on the board; now it is the word go from the first ball, for the rest of the teams that is. In most of its recent matches, Pakistani batsmen have scored slowly at the start, gained momentum in the middle and scored huge at the end just like they did in the days of Imran Khan. If Pakistan needs to do well at the World Cup, they will have to go all guns blazing otherwise the players will end up cheering for some other team when the semifinals take place. Yes, we nearly managed to chase 374 runs but that was just one match – one lost match that should have been won.