T20 World Cup: Loss to India may force Pakistan to change team composition or batting approach

0 0
0 0
T20 World Cup: Loss to India may force Pakistan to change team composition or batting approach
Read Time:5 Minute, 34 Second


Pakistan’s last-ball defeat to India on Sunday in their opening match of the T20 World Cup may well have increased the pressure on their contrarian T20 strategy, in the absence of a genuine seam-bowling all-rounder.

In a format where most top sides have come to rely on their batting heavyweights outgunning the opposition – India have almost been forced to adopt a more aggressive batting approach after their 2021 T20 World Cup debacle – Pakistan still swear by scoring just about par and trusting their high-quality bowling attack to defend it, game after game.

There is no doubt that the strategy has worked more often than not when bowlers of the calibre Pakistan have are setting up the game. Since the 2021 T20 World Cup, Pakistan have lost only three and won 10 matches while chasing a target, as their bowlers rarely end up conceding above par.

But the story is not as one-sided when Pakistan have to bat first, like they had to against India after losing the toss in Melbourne. It was their seventh defeat as against six wins while batting first since the 2021 T20 World Cup. During this period, Pakistan’s batsmen have scored at a strike rate of just 127.22 while batting first; the top three teams, England, India and South Africa, have gone at 152.77, 148.06 and 146.74 respectively.

Pakistan celebrate the fall of an Indian wicket during the T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

When setting a target, Pakistan have relied overwhelmingly on the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, the most prolific partnership in T20I history. Sunday’s game was a rare failure for the duo in difficult batting conditions against the new ball, and it was largely to Iftikhar Ahmed’s credit that Pakistan managed to post a target of 160.

And they did seem to have the game almost in the bag when India required 48 runs off the last three overs, two of which were to be bowled by the crack pace duo of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf. However, both bowlers, usually reliable at the death, came up short against the rampaging genius of Virat Kohli.

Lack of options

This is where Pakistan’s limitations caught up with them. They had taken left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz out of the attack after Kohli and Hardik Pandya took three sixes off his third over, the 12th of the India innings. Pakistan had hoped Afridi and Rauf would put the equation beyond India’s reach by the end of the 19th over.

But thanks to Kohli, India were still in the hunt come the 20th, and Pakistan had no option but to give the ball to Nawaz again, as they lacked a proper sixth bowling option. How often does one see a left-arm spinner bowl the last over of any T20 game, leave alone in a chase against the arch rivals in a World Cup where conditions have been decidedly pace-friendly?

IND PAK Pakistan’s Babar Azam gestures to umpire Rod Tucker during the T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Contrast this with how India were able to adapt after one of their bowlers had an off day, thanks to the presence of Pandya. Axar Patel had gone for runs in the 12th over – like Nawaz did – when Pakistan batted. But because Pandya could be relied upon to bowl his full quota of four overs, India were able to take Axar out of the attack altogether after the solitary expensive over; in fact, they required even the other spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, to bowl only three overs as they didn’t utilise him after the 15th.

Pakistan have spin-bowling all-rounders – Shadab Khan, Nawaz, even Iftikhar Ahmed can bowl some off-spin – more suited to Asian conditions, but the closest they have to a seam-bowling all-rounder is young Mohammad Wasim, who averages close to 20 in T20Is and 25 in one-dayers with the bat. He has never batted above No. 8 in his six T20I innings so far, but after the loss to India, there have been calls to include him in place of either Haider Ali or Asif Ali. Pakistan did appear to have included a specialist batsman too many against India.

The road ahead

It is early days in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup, but there is a six-run gap right now in the averages of pacers (20.47) compared to spinners (26.25). The difference has been starker in Perth, where Pakistan play their next two matches, against Zimbabwe on Thursday and the Netherlands on Sunday. Pacers are averaging 19.25 and going at 6.67 runs an over, while the corresponding figures for spinners are 30.14 and 7.49.

It was only one narrow loss to an all-time great knock from an opponent alright, but it was still against India, and has certainly hit Pakistan’s semi-final chances. What will be their response?

There will be pressure from outside to try something different, and the team management’s faith in their contrarian strategy will be tested. Will it make them drop a batsman and include Wasim to increase seam-bowling options in helpful conditions, despite the pedigree of their five-man attack? Will it make their top order take more risks – something they have been reluctant to do in the first half of the innings – to give their bowlers more of a buffer should one or two of them have an off day? Or could Wasim’s inclusion make the top order even more risk-averse and make it harder for them to achieve a par score?

They may not require to tinker much against Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, but South Africa next week in Sydney – potentially a virtual quarter-final – will be the big test of how Pakistan under Babar Azam have chosen to play their T20 cricket.





Source link

About Post Author

Newslaava

“I am an architect, animator and teacher working in architecture and design at __india__. This site is a great resource for anyone looking to get more updates from their home. Fill your home (heart) with more trending accessories from choosing the best colors for your mind room. NewsSalava.com will rob your heart .... Cool
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Comment

LUKA DEFEATS STEPH AND MAVS EDGE WARRIORS IN THRIFT TEAM USA PLAYERS EMBRACE SAEID EZATOLAHI OF IRAN ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL Week 12 Bengals vs. Titans final score predictions Allen Robinson, wide receiver for Rams, foot injury? The Buccaneers offence is not strong, no. But is it sufficient? engaland world cup: An employee of the US Embassy in London was fired