Affront at Ahmedabad

Pakistan yet again failed to beat archrival India in a World Cup encounter

October 16, 2023


The jinx persists. Pakistan yet again failed to beat archrival India in a World Cup encounter. The Babar Azam men were not defeated, but rather demolished. Batting first at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, they failed to go past the 200-run mark on what was a perfect batting paradise.

And they were equally bad in defending the 192-run target, allowing the opponents a free rein with the bat, losing the game with seven wickets and 18.3 overs to spare.

Batting collapse on a wicket that offers no support to the bowlers speaks of the mental collapse that Team Pakistan is prone to when playing India in World Cups.

From 2 down at 155 to all out at 191 on a placid surface is a genuine cause for concern. Only skipper Babar Azam (50) and Muhammad Rizwan (49) offered some resistance as all others fell like mine pins. Had the team played out the full quota of overs, it would have at least helped them with the run rate that does play a crucial role in final analysis.

Pakistan’s bowling too remained subpar. Shaheen Shah Afridi did provide an early breakthrough, but just one was not enough to put brakes on the Indian run-making that remained well above 6 an over right through the innings.

It’s time, however, to put the defeat behind and focus on the next game, against Australia, scheduled for Friday, October 20. That Australia have lost both their matches in the tournament so far – to India and South Africa – by big margins should work to the psychological advantage of Pakistan that have won two of their three matches, and are ahead of the Pat Cummins men on the points table.

A few changes in Pakistan’s line-up are a must. Imam-ul-Haq with scores of 15, 12 and 36 in the three games may give way to Fakhar Zaman to open the batting along with Abdullah Shafique. Leg-spinner Usama Mir may replace vice-captain Shadab Khan who has come under severe criticism from experts due to his poor form with both the bat and ball.

Fingers crossed as Pakistan head for Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore for the next fight.


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