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Saturday June 15, 2024

Azhar says slow batting in middle overs cost Pakistan match

By Abdul Mohi Shah
April 23, 2024
Azhar Mahmood seen in this undated photo. — AFP/File
Azhar Mahmood seen in this undated photo. — AFP/File 

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan team Head Coach Azhar Mehmood was unhappy over performance of the batting line-up especially in the middle overs, saying that the team will have to overcome flaws as quickly as possible to make a resounding entry into the T20 World Cup.

Talking to media following Pakistan’s loss against the new-look New Zealand team, Azhar said there were many flaws and weaknesses visible in different departments of the game during the third T20.

“We have to overcome these at the earliest. The batting line-up did not perform to the expectations. We definitely were 20 to 25 runs short of setting a target that could have been challenging for the visitors. We did not keep up the same tempo that was required in the middle overs. Picking up the pace and making the best use of the middle overs was required. In the end, we were short of setting a strong target for New Zealand to chase.”

The former Pakistan all-rounder was also unhappy at the bowling exhibition, saying that weaknesses were visible in the armory. “Some glaring weaknesses were there when it came to making a real impression in the bowling. We have a few matches up our sleeves to overcome these weaknesses in order to make a real impression in the World Cup.”

Azhar praised Mark Chapman for single-handedly winning the day for his country. “In T20 cricket, a single good innings tilts the balance in the team’s favour. That was exactly what happened today with Mark Chapman who was dropped on no less than three occasions.

He took his team home with an exciting innings. In modern day T20 cricket such an innings is required from a top-order batsman in order to set or chase a big target. When it comes to batting order, I believe there should not be any change in top three positions while options are there for the management to shuffle around with the rest of the batting order.”

The head coach was also unhappy over the fielding lapses, saying that there was no luck involved in fielding. “Sometimes luck does matter in batting and bowling. When it comes to fielding, luck has no role. Fielding lapses also contributed to Pakistan losses.”

The hero of the second T20, Mark Chapman who single-handedly won the match for New Zealand warned the opponents about taking T20 cricket lightly. “If we were down and out one day that does not mean the next day we would do the same. Every day is a new day and every opportunity comes with new challenges. It was a new day for us and every department showed its quality in winning the match.”