India’s formidable batting lineup did not disappoint and looked set to post a mammoth total of 350 runs. Yet, Sohail Khan’s timely couple of scalps in the end helped restrict India to an attainable 300 runs. When team Pakistan came to bat, after an early set of hiccups, the squad seemed to stabilize until all the batsmen, save Misbah, succumbed like a house of cards. Here’s five reasons we have compiled for you where we think Pakistan needs to improve in order to uplift their game!
1. Get rid of the early hiccups!
Yet again, the Pakistani lineup suffered from early hiccups and lost their opener Younis Khan within the first five overs. A rising delivery from Shami caught the glove of the right-hand batsman and was caught neatly by Dhoni behind the stumps. This has always been the case with Pakistan. Their loss of early wickets results in the pressure shifting to the middle order , which ultimately refrains Pakistan from chasing a huge target or imposing one! It seems Ahmed Shehzad has adopted and acclimatized to his role as an opener, yet the search for his opener remains still open as no one seems to be up for the job at the other end.
2. Swap Sarfaraz for Akmal!
Umar Akmal has not performed for Pakistan in the last couple of matches, when it mattered the most to Pakistan. His dismissal against India might have been the third umpire’s blunder, yet he never looked at home when he walked out to the pitch. Shaky and irresponsible is what Umar Akmal has been during the last six matches or so. The Umar Akmal we used to know used to rotate strike through cheeky singles and kept the scoreboard ticking. His dropped catch of Kohli also proved to be fatal as Kohli went on to score a century for India and pummel the Pakistani bowlers. Moral of the story; we need a specialized keeper to strike when the iron is hot and an aggressive batsman who has performed well in the recent past. And yes, benching Sarfaraz won’t do you any good!
3. Muhammad Irfan: The underperforming giant
Muhamamd Irfan showed lack of resolve and vigor when he bowled against the Indians on Sunday. It was Sohail Khan who was expected to be punished by the Indians on account of his inexperience and Irfan was tapped to be the danger to the Indian batting side. Yet, his poor line and length which mostly focused on bowling to the leg-side prompted Kohli and Raina to hit him off the legs for numerous fours. Wahab Riaz’s pacey bowling is of no benefit to Pakistan until and unless he arms it with point-blank accuracy. Anything too wide and too short is bound to get punished! Pakistani bowlers need to be more precise and target the stumps whilst their net session is underway!
4. Let it be known: Misbah is no superman!
Sunday’s match yet again spelt doom for the Pakistani batting lineup save Misbah Ul Haq. The stable batsman put on an impressive 76 runs from 84 balls in an innings that stretched to almost two hours. However, none of the other batsmen chipped in except Ahmed Shahzad, hence Pakistan was unable to chase India’s impressive total. Sohaib Maqsood and Haris Sohail’s successive dismissals were the turning point in the match when Pakistan lost its middle batting order in two consecutive deliveries. What the other lads with the bats need to know is: Misbah is no superman! The burden of chasing 300 runs ought to be shared by all! Start chipping in, lads!
5. Attack is the best defense
What lacks most of all within the Pakistani team is the will to attack and pick apart the oppositions bowlers from the start. The starting mandatory ten Power Play overs is where we need to dent the opposition psychologically by attacking them with the bat. Batting Younis Khan at the opening position was never the wises thing to do, hence bring on Sarfaraz. Let him and Shahzad loft the ball during the Power Play overs and hammer the new ball old. Shahid Afridi opening for Pakistan won’t be such a bad idea to experiment with, provided Sarfaraz takes his place at number six.