When you look at Pakistan and the manner in which the side Pakistan Struggles In T20Is, there is a stark contrast. Just a year ago, Pakistan was on top of their game in the T20I format. They had beaten New Zealand 2-1 in a three-match series, went on to win a tri-series finale defeating Australia and romped past both Australia and New Zealand 3-0 in-home series in the UAE.
We had all got accustomed to Pakistan setting the standards in the format and showing that wave of consistency. There was that feeling of comfort looking at them play and settle in a positive mode even when ODIs and Tests seemed to desert them.
However, Pakistan’s series loss at the start of the year in South Africa was just the start. They also went down in the one-off T20I against England and now the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in Lahore has left Pakistan with some questions to answer. This wasn’t something new head coach Misbah-ul-Haq would have liked.
The manner in which Pakistan Struggles In T20Is and was cornered by a young Lankan side exposed too many shortcomings in the system. The decision-making, choice of players and the madness while batting were too hard to take. With the ICC World T20 in 2020, teams are busy preparing themselves to have a crack at the mega event.
Although it is just early for Pakistan, they quickly need to identify the issues, work on them and execute the same. Time ticks rapidly and Pakistan cannot afford to waste the same. Here we decode why Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Pakistan Struggles In T20Is and has fallen behind the ranks in T20Is.
Pakistan’s lack of execution a strong factor
The recently-concluded T20I series against Sri Lanka highlighted the fact that Pakistan has been trying too hard rather than getting the basics right. There was a lack of execution largely that allowed the Lankans the upper hand throughout the series.
Over time, the Men in Green have done well at moments but the overall package has been missing. With the ball, the side managed to do well in parts, however, finishing off sides has been a long-term issue. Those extra runs, in the end, ended up hurting Sarfaraz’s men.
Also, the trend of the middle order is a worry. Nobody goes on to raise his hand and say he is the match-winner. Besides Imad Wasim at times, this Pakistani outfit lacks the execution of a match-winner needed badly in this format. You need someone to finish off games and at the moment one cannot identify a player in the Pakistan team.
In all the three matches Pakistan chased and you look at the batting card, this is where Pakistan struggles in T20Is it’s a similar issue that plagued the side in chasing down gettable targets. So execution in all three departments is a must and Pakistan lacks the same.
Too many chopping and changes make things look clueless
Experimentation is good, but too much of the same often leads to a mishap. This was a theme of Pakistan in the three-match series. From nowhere, the management decided to hand call-ups to Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad. And once they returned after a long period, things went awry.
Notably, Akmal scored two consecutive golden-ball ducks after batting at number three and number five respectively. So his positioning wasn’t thought about before. The players who needed a consistent run were either benched or rested.
Fakhar Zaman who scored back to back the 50s in the ODI series was rested for the first T20I. Once Shehzad failed, he was quickly reinstated. Shehzad, who had been struggling to find boundaries even in the Powerplay, was made to bat at three in the second match. Once again the ploy failed.
Haris Sohail, who has been a top player for the side in recent times, was dropped for the first two T20Is. he played the third game and scored a fifty.
Iftikhar Ahmed, the only off-spinner in the team, is someone who could have been handy against the four left-handers in Sri Lanka’s top six. He could also be a solution to the team’s power-hitting problems. However, he was dropped from the second match despite two unbeaten cameos of 32 and 28 in the ODIs.
Pakistan isn’t sure of what their top order should be. They are clueless about who should follow whom in the middle order. These indecisions have made them suffer.
Pakistan are missing out on proper acceleration
Another primary issue for the side is its inability to accelerate leading to Pakistan Struggles In T20Is. This has been Pakistan’s weak link in recent years. Their success in 2018, in which they created a world record of 17 wins, was mainly because they played most of the games in UAE and Zimbabwe. On those pitches, 150 can be a winning total due to slow and low pitches.
However, when you present a better surface say the ones which have more bounce, carry and also aid batting, Pakistan seems to struggle. To cite an example of the same, Pakistan has in fact lost 5 out of their 6 T20Is chiefly because they were played on surfaces such as Lahore, Cardiff, Centurion, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Pakistani batsmen can be found wanting when asked to bat outside their comfort zone, which is setting totals or chasing targets near to 200. So when you have a crunch match on offer, the absence of acceleration hurts the side. This will be an issue for Pakistan, who needs to find a way to curb this problem.
What Misbah need to do next?
To end Pakistan Struggles In T20Is Misbah got a clear picture of his side’s reality in T20Is and knows they’re in danger. In the current scenario, Misbah was baffled by his side’s spineless show. “The performance of the Sri Lankan teams is an example for us. They outclassed us completely. We did not beat them in any of the three departments. All matches and the series were one-sided. We need to find the answers to a lot of questions. This was disappointing,” he said.
So what’s next for the new head coach? He definitely needs to find a way in which his side can produce players that take the pressure off Babar Azam. One cannot solely rely on the player. He needs to identify 15-18 players and stick to them in the build-up to the World Cup T2o next year.
Also, batting positions and sticking to players in the same is another must. Players cannot be simply batting at new places every now and then and be wondering how to go about things.
Pakistan will be up against Australia next month in a three-match affair. To play on Australian surfaces will no doubt be difficult for the side. One hopes the side can learn from mistakes and present a better show.