In a thrilling match at the 2022 Asia Cup, Pakistan suffered a heartbreaking loss to their archrival India. The Men in Green struggled to get going after being given the opportunity to bat first. Later, they made an incredible comeback with the ball and came perilously close to winning. At the end of the day, Pakistan was unable to secure a victory, and the majority of the reason for this was due to their own mistakes rather than being outplayed by the opposition.
The Green Shirts committed some critical errors throughout the game that ultimately contributed to their defeat. If they had been able to maintain composure and play to their advantages, the match’s outcome would have unquestionably gone in their favor.
Early on in the game, Pakistan’s conservative strategy and lack of creativity with their batting lineup had an impact on the play. The Men in Green presented a hesitant demeanor and showed no initiative, which contributed to 20–25 runs being short.
While Babar and Rizwan have excelled as openers in the game’s shortest format, their early exit reveals the squad’s flimsy batting. If necessary, the star all-rounder Shadab Khan, who has demonstrated his bat skills in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), should be used higher up the order. Had he been placed above Iftikhar Ahmed or Khushdil Shah, he might have made the difference in the game.
Even if Shadab didn’t deliver, his low-risk wicket might have been the best choice given the circumstances. Pakistan’s total would have been higher if he had been able to attack the Indian bowlers for a few overs; even if he had failed, Iftikhar, Khushdil, and Asif Ali were still available to bat.
As opposed to Pakistan, who lacked a strong off-spinner who could trouble the left-hander, India assessed the scenario of the game and pushed all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja up the order. In the end, Jadeja’s outstanding inning was what separated the two sides.
Failure to evaluating the pitch
Pakistan paid a high price for misreading the offered pitch conditions. The experts predicted that 180 would be a good total on the field before the game began, but the actual playing conditions painted a different image. It should not have been an issue if Pakistan had maintained 160 as their ultimate aim.
After a sluggish start, the batters were mired in a rut and started looking for boundaries rather than taking calculated risks and maintaining the scoreboard. All four strong batters, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, and Mohammad Nawaz, attempted to hit home runs to boost the scoreboard but were unable due to a challenging pitch.
The outcome may have been different if the squad had played to their strengths and tried to reach at least 160.
Pakistan had serious concerns about the players’ health when their bowlers cramped up during vital moments of the game. Fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah were the next to experience weariness after wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.
The Men in Green are accustomed to the heat in the UAE, so cramping up during a crucial game shouldn’t worry these top sportsmen. Pakistan’s bowlers ultimately failed to give their all because of their lack of fitness.
Rizwan appeared to be having difficulty as well and allowed a few extras to pass that should have been contained. In the dying moments, the Indian batters were able to release the pressure and finally secure the victory because to Rizwan’s shoddy glove performance and Rauf’s erratic line and length.
It was seriously concerning that Pakistan was unable to adjust to the circumstances and pay attention to the “match-ups.” The Men in Green did not react when India chose to bring in a left-hander to trouble the Pakistani bowling line. Babar made a perplexing choice by choosing not to use Iftikhar Ahmed’s off-spin for even one over in the midst of the innings.
Even if the choice may not have been successful, an effort to retaliate India should have been made. Slandering Babar for selecting him as captain may also be incorrect because making such a bold choice in a high-stakes match while fully aware of the potential consequences is no small decision.
Slow Over Rate
Due to their slow over rate, the Green Shirts were also required to bowl with one additional fielder within the circle starting in the 17th over. Speaking of slow over rates, the skipper should have controlled the bowlers even though mistakes occurred because of several breaks brought on by the injuries of multiple players. Iftikhar or Khushdil may have been used during the middle phase to avoid the penalty, albeit this may be grasping at straws.
However, the players should be pleased of the manner they persevered and nearly pulled victory from the jaws of loss by fighting until the last end. Pakistan will be seeking retribution and will aim to make the Super 4s so that it may play India in the following round. The think-tank should aim to play to their advantages and take advantage of the shortcomings of the competition the next time around.