Having been beaten by India in yet another multi-team tournament, Pakistan will be keen to get on the points table, in the match against UAE on Monday, at Mirpur. While Pakistan’s batting and running between the wickets was disastrous in the match against the Indians, they fought back well with the ball, Mohammad Amir in particular, coming up with a spectacular bowling effort to keep India on the edge early on. As for UAE, they may have lost both the matches, but their bowling has been excellent in these losing causes as well. It is the batting that has let them down.
Pakistan managed a mere 83 in the first match, and you rarely defend such scores in T20 games. The batting needs to show a lot more spunk against UAE. It won’t be easy, especially since bowling side will be confident after the kind of success they tasted against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Pakistan has talent and experience in their batting, but they need to show better application. It will be important for the experienced men like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to fire. If the batsmen can put up a good show, Pakistan have the bowlers to stifle the opposition.
Even as Pakistan would be disappointed with their batting against India, they should be equally pleased with the spirited show they put up defending merely 83. The spell Amir bowled against India was arguably one of the best in T20s. The deliveries he bowled to both Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were unplayable ones, and said a lot about how dangerous he remains even after all these years away from the game. Amir will be the dangerman for UAE when Pakistan take them on Monday. Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Sami also bowled exceedingly well to support Amir.
Apart from their poor top and middle-order batting, there are a couple of other areas where Pakistan need to improve significantly when the face UAE. Their running between the wickets was atrocious in their opening match against India. Khurram Manzoor and Shoaib Malik featured in a mix-up with Pakistan already in trouble while Shahid Afridi literally gave his wicket away, going for a non-existent second, taking on the strong of Ravindra Jadeja from the deep. Their bowling against the arch-rivals was top class, but they could have done with a better effort from the usually reliable Wahab Riaz, who was not in sync on the big day.
UAE will have mixed feelings after having tasted two defeats in the series. Their bowling in the matches has been highly impressive. Mohammad Naveed and Ajmad Javed have been among the wickets in the two matches while Mohammad Shahzad and Rohan Mustafa have played good supporting acts. However, their batting has been equally poor. Apart from Swapnil Patil in the first match, and Mohammad Usman in the second, no batsman has reached the 30s. Against Bangladesh, they managed only 82. Pakistan thus should be confident of overcoming UAE in spite of the setback against the Indians.
--By A Cricket Analyst