After having won the first T20I comprehensively, Pakistan were outplayed in the second game at Leeds, and at the heart of their defeat was Babar Azam’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
Fans, as well as, former cricketers like Shoaib Akhtar and Ramiz Raja were also taken aback by the decision given the perennial issues of the Pakistan Cricket Team when it comes to chasing down targets.
Speaking on his Youtube channel, Ramiz Raja reckoned that Pakistan looks more in control when they are defending a total as compared to chasing.
‘’Pakistan look more in control when they bat first. Because then they have an idea of the target while bowling and then they have the passion along with the fielding to back it up. They show both defensive and offensive tactics in those cases. Their chances of winning drastically increase in the process. This come back was expected from England because they were playing at home with the series on the line. They made changes and propelled themselves upwards,” Ramiz Raja said.
The former opener was also unimpressed by the fact that Pakistan didn’t opt to play another leg-spin option in the form of Usman Qadir despite the fact that England had 2-3 inexperienced batters in the playing 11.
‘’They [England] played with two leg-spinners. The tactics have changed while Pakistan, who made this tactic of playing two leg-spinners, have forgotten this tactic. Usman Qadir was present in the squad that was going to face a side with around two to three inexperienced batsmen. Some don’t play spin well. They still didn’t think about attacking with two leg-spinners. This is why Pakistan sometimes pays a price because of its tactics, not because of the talent that it has,” he added.
Pakistan need to improve their middle-order batting and bowling- Ramiz Raja
While Ramiz Raja believes that Pakistans still have a very good chance of winning the final game at Manchester and the series, he highlighted two major issues that the visitors need to address ahead of the decider.
According to Raja, Pakistan’s middle-order batting still remains a mighty concern. He reckoned that the batters need to play sensibly rather than swinging like rusty gates.
‘’The fielding was down again. We can still give them props because the series is still alive, and they can learn from their mistakes. The middle-order has to bat better than this during run chases. It seemed like they were swinging in a desperate situation. They have to back themselves and hit on balls that are in their zones. You can’t just close your eyes and swing for the fences thinking that it is a desperate situation, and I will still get a pat on the back for effort. This should not be the case. If you want to be a big side while chasing, then you have to pick your moments. Senseless hitting increases pressure because wickets fall in the process while a new batsman would need time to settle in the middle,” he said.
He also pointed out that the visitors’ bowling attack have conceded 200-plus runs in both the games and one can’t afford to have your frontline bowlers conceding 50-plus runs every game.
For Pakistan to win the series, their bowlers need to go back to the drawing board and devise new tactics to put a lid on the opposition batters.
“It did not seem like Pakistan were looking for stable partnerships which is another important aspect of chasing down a total. You try to take the game deep. The pressure goes on the opposition then. Pakistan’s bowling was not up to the mark since they conceded 200 runs in two games. They have to go back to the drawing board and make some changes. They have to make new strategies and pick themselves up. If your frontline bowlers are conceding 50 plus runs then it becomes hard to restrict the opposition batsmen. They still have a chance to win this series which would be a monumental achievement,” he concluded.
The series-decider between England and Pakistan will take place in Manchester on Tuesday, July 20.