As the 2022 T20 World Cup approaches, there is a clear trend that is visible in the Pakistan cricket team’s performance. The side is increasingly looking over-reliant on openers Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan. The same was visible in Tuesday’s tri-nation series match against New Zealand in which Pakistan lost by nine wickets. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan fell on low scores and Pakistan could manage only 130/7 in 20 overs. The middle order could not leave an impact. Shan Masood (14), Shadab Khan (8), Iftikhar Ahmed (27) and Haider Ali (8) failed to strike big.
Saeed Ajmal, former Pakistan spinner, criticised the middle order and made a special note about Iftikhar Ahmed, who scored a run-a-ball 27. Ajmal commented that Iftikhar began his innings like MS Dhoni, one of the best finisher’s in the game, used to do but could not end it like the former India captain.
“Iftikhar plays like MS Dhoni but couldn’t end the innings like MS used to. (MS) used to take singles and hit sixes towards the end to compensate for them. Here, Iftikhar plays ten dot balls, Shan Masood plays 5-7 dot balls, and when they try to recover by hitting big shots, they get out.),” Ajmal was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan. “Iftikhar scored 27 runs off as many balls and he got out in the last over. Where do you stand?).”
Pakistan squad for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Usman Qadir.
Traveling reserves: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Haris and Shahnawaz Dahani.
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