Pakistan scheduled a series in England before the World Cup to acclimatise to the conditions of the UK arriving a month before the World Cup.
Despite this, they lost the warm-up ODI series to the World Cup hosts. It was a high-scoring series. In three of the four matches the target for the chasing side was above 350. England was successful in chasing the targets, but Pakistan struggled to chase.
Their top order always gave a solid start, but the issue was with the last ten overs, in which Pakistan failed to finish batting satisfactorily. It looks like the issue remains unresolved, as it has continued into the World Cup as well. In the third ODI against England, Pakistan made 9-358, which their opponents chased and easily caught with five overs left. Pakistan had lost five wickets in the last powerplay.
Further, in the fourth ODI Pakistan, batting first, made 7-340. Here they lost four wickets in the last ten overs. Again, England chased it successfully in 49.3 overs. Moreover, in the match against the same team in the World Cup, Pakistan made 8-348, losing five wickets between overs 41 and 50. Fortunately England could not chase it.
It was not that Pakistan did not score runs in the last powerplay. The issue is their middle-order batsmen get out at crucial times without scoring many runs, which restricts them from putting a good total on the board. Batsmen like Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik have failed to impress with their batting in this tournament.
Pakistan has lost two matches from their four games thus far. Their next match is against India, before which they’d ideally want to have this problem solved. India has had trouble with their top order since the Asia Cup, which increased the responsibility of their middle order.
Therefore, as India knows Pakistan’s weaknesses, they will try to get early wickets and put the pressure on their middle order. Pakistan’s top order will have to bat well to counter this. Further, they could even try some other options in place of Malik and Ali.
To finish the match on their terms Pakistan will have to finish their batting professionally.
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