“When it rains it pours.” The proverb fits like a T in the case of Indo-Pak cricket clashes of late. After robbing the people of the prospect of watching the two countries clash on cricket fields for over two years, there has been a deluge of sorts recently. After the forgettable one-sided encounter in UAE last year, this year the two sides clashed with each other twice at the same venue yet gain. Now, they are all set to lock horns in their opening game in the T-20 World Cup In Australia for the third time in 2022. Expectedly, the Indian supporters expect nothing but a victory and a win would also do a world of good to the morale of the team who lost some key players to injuries a few months before the tournament. But Pakistan are no pushovers and India have to pull off something special to get the better of their arch-rival. There are some chinks in the armour of the Pak team. Let’s focus on those for now.
The Middle Order Woes
The Pakistan team has a wobbly middle order and it has hardly been stretched due to the extraordinary performances of their openers, Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan. Even in the just-concluded T-20 series involving England, which the tourists won 4-3, the Pak middle order hardly performed. It has become apparent of late with Pak that if their middle-order batters come to the crease early on they crack under pressure. So, India, when they take on the arch-rival at Melbourne, should ideally try to bring the middle-order bats to the pitch as quickly as possible. If India can do the same then it won’t be a surprise to see their middle-order batsmen fall apart like a pack of cards as has been evident from Pak batting collapses recently.
Weaknesses Against Pace And Bounce
Teams from the subcontinent tend to struggle in overseas conditions, especially in Australia, South Africa etc, due to the extra bounce and pace on offer. Be it Pakistan, Sri Lanka or even India they all struggle on foreign soil. So, in Australia, during the upcoming T-20 World Cup, India can look to cash in on the same vulnerabilities of the Pak side by feeding them with short-pitched stuffs regularly. Recently, for example, Pak batsmen could not withstand the fiery pace of England’s Mark Wood in the T-20 encounters and even in the Asia Cup before that the “Men in Green” looked in all kinds of discomfort against the rising deliveries bowled by Hardik Pandya and Avesh Khan. This is something Indian should focus on while bowling to Pak batters, who look clueless against quality fast bowling.
Heavily Leans On The Openers To Do The Job
As said previously, their middle-order problem is an open secret and the reason for the same is the brilliance and class of their openers, Babar and Rizwan. These two guys have been single-handedly doing the job for the team that the other batters have hardly had to sweat for the team’s cause. However, this over-dependence on the duo has come back to haunt them in recent times with both the openers trying hard to preserve the wicket till the end and spiking the asking rate beyond their reach.
As a result, their strike rate goes for a toss, and the team loses in the process. Pak’s strength lies in chasing than setting totals but even while chasing the team can be put under immense pressure by employing attacking strategies against their two main batters. So, even if India are defending, they should try to choke the flow of runs from the willows of Babar and Rizwan to make them try something silly or uncharacteristic, and send them back to the pavilion as early as possible to test their faltering and untested middle order.