Pakistan and England were involved in a thrilling seven-match T20I series, in Pakistan, which ended on Sunday evening (October 02). Being asked to bat first in Lahore, Moeen Ali-led English side posted a daunting 209 for 3 in 20 overs riding on Dawid Malan’s 47-ball 78 and useful knocks from others.
In reply, Babar Azam-led Men in Green were expected to chase down the score at the jam-packed Gadaffi Stadium, Lahore. Babar and Md Rizwan — the No. 1 T20I batter — have been Pakistan’s most consistent batters in recent times but the opening pair couldn’t do much and got dismissed for 4 and 1, respectively. Shan Masood’s 56 was the only shining aspect for Pakistan in their run-chase as they were restricted for 148 for 8 to lose by 67 runs.
Thus, the series was finally won by England 4-3 after trailing 2-3 after the first five encounters. After the series, Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar has expressed concerns over Babar & Co.’s middle order and is ‘scared’ of the team’s chances in the forthcoming T20 World Cup, where he fears the one-time winners might bow out in the first round (Super 12).
“Pakistan middle-order is not good. If the openers don’t perform, the middle-order collapses. This is not the way you go into the World Cup and win the World Cup. It will not work this way. Even in terms of the World Cup, I hope Pakistan don’t crash out in the first round. I’m scared with this team. That is why I criticized Saqlain and others to get your middle-order, batting order in order. Somehow they’re not listening,” Akhtar said on his Youtube channel.
“But hopefully, Pakistan make a good comeback in the World Cup and in New Zealand tri-series. I like to see Pakistan doing well and it is disheartening to see them lose. But Pakistan is in a dire situation and from here things aren’t going to be easy for them. Hopefully they will learn a thing or two from my videos and improve their middle order. Babar cannot perform in every game,” the ex-pacer further asserted.
Pakistan’s middle-order woes were exposed even in the Asia Cup 2022 edition, where they lost the final to Sri Lanka by 23 runs in pursuit of 170. They are heavily dependent on Babar-Rizwan whereas the other middle-order batters haven’t impressed much in the opportunities provided to them in crunch situations.(WION)