Euro 2020 Special

T20 World Cup 2022: Pakistan Might Face An Early Exit Despite Win Against South Africa

The rain gods have finally interfered in favour of Pakistan last night, giving them a much-needed victory against South Africa in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022. A swift victory against the Netherlands allowed Babar Azam’s men to remain in contention for the semifinals spot from Group 2 alongside India or South Africa, depending on the final round of matches.

Before the start of the tournament, Pakistan were one of the favourites to win the trophy, boasting some of the finest players in the shortest format of the game among their ranks. But things went haywire quickly, first against India due to Virat Kohli’s finest T20 innings ever, and then due to a batting collapse against Zimbabwe.

Let’s take a look at what went wrong for Pakistan during the ongoing T20 World Cup.


Lack of proper preparation

Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to stick with spin-friendly pitches during England’s tour of Pakistan has been widely criticised even before the tournament.

The seven-match T20 series was the perfect opportunity for Pakistan’s selectors to try out different combinations, but they instead opted to stick to a tried-and-tested team. That short-term vision is now costing the Men in Green.

Australia’s tracks are normally fast-paced and bouncy, offering more opportunities for the bowlers than the batsmen.

Most of the heavy lifting in the series against England was done by openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan – the duo scored 601 runs between them. This meant that the middle and lower-order players got few opportunities to hone their skills ahead of the tournament.

To make things worse, Pakistan played their only warm-up game against England with the fixture against Afghanistan abandoned due to rain. All these factors combined meant that neither the batsmen nor the bowlers were fully prepared for the tournament.


Poor team selection

Pakistan’s selectors have also come under fire from veterans of the game like Shoaib Akhtar. The middle order looks weak without a doubt despite putting up a good performance against South Africa. But the decision to leave the veteran Shoaib Malik out of the squad might ultimately cost Pakistan the World Cup.

The inclusion of Shaheen Afridi in the squad has also raised eyebrows, with the fast bowler reportedly playing the tournament while he is still recovering from his knee injury. His average pace has been consistently lower than what the quick bowler is expected to deliver and has taken just three wickets so far in the tournament.

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has come down strongly on the Pakistan Cricket Board for risking the young star’s health despite the availability of other fast bowlers.


Excessive dependence on top order

Pakistan’s Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim has acknowledged the team’s excessive dependence on their top-three players. The duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are world-class, and along with Fakhar Zaman form the core of Pakistan’s batting.

All three players have the ability to bat deep and anchor an innings. The trio regularly dominate the strike for Pakistan, leaving fewer balls for other players to face, often not allowing them to set properly in the crease.

As shown in the game against South Africa, the likes of Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, and Shadab Khan can explode given the opportunity. But a recurring problem for the Men in Green is their inability to settle in mostly due to the top order not trusting the middle and lower orders with the strike.

This leaves Pakistan in a precarious state – where the performance of just the openers is likely to determine the final score of the team.

The duo did put on famous partnerships from time to time – the one against India last year in the T20 World Cup is an example – but this is not a sustainable strategy for a team competing at the highest levels of the game.


Babar Azam’s failure

Apart from issues with captaincy, Babar Azam has also failed with the bat in the tournament. The former No.1 T20 batsman scored just 14 runs in the World Cup so far in four games, failing to reach double digits even once. Despite calls for more depth in the middle order, Babar Azam for now remains the key player in Pakistan’s plans.

Combined with Mohammad Rizwan’s 71 runs at an average of 17.75, the failure of Pakistan’s opening duo has cost the team dearly in the first two games. Pakistan need both of their openers to return to form in the game against Bangladesh.


Qualification scenarios for Pakistan

This T20 World Cup is turning out to be a close contest with no team fully securing their spot in the semifinals after four rounds of matches. India are currently at the top of Group 2 with six points, while South Africa is in second place with five points.

Unless Zimbabwe produce another miracle to upset India at the MCG, India are likely to progress to the semifinals with ease. A simple win against the Netherlands would be enough for South Africa to reach the semis.

So the only qualification path for Pakistan is now to hope for South Africa’s defeat in the hands of the Netherlands. But rain might provide a chance for the Men in Green – In case of tied points, more wins are given precedence over NRR.

If the fixture between South Africa and the Netherlands gets washed out, Pakistan can still qualify if they defeat Bangladesh regardless of NRR as they will then boast more wins than South Africa.




Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.