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Pakistan Captain and Coach Under Fire After Back-to-Back Losses in T20 World Cup

The Pakistan cricket team finds itself under intense scrutiny following consecutive losses in the ICC T20 World Cup. After their narrow six-run defeat to India, both skipper Babar Azam and head coach Gary Kirsten have faced criticism for the team’s performance and strategic decisions.

In a high-stakes clash at Nassau County Stadium, Pakistan won the toss and elected to field. The decision seemed promising as India’s star openers, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, were dismissed cheaply for 4 and 13 runs respectively. Despite these early breakthroughs, Rishabh Pant played a crucial knock of 42 off 31 balls, supported by Axar Patel (20) and Suryakumar Yadav (7), pushing India to a total of 119 in 19 overs.

Pakistan’s bowlers, particularly Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah, were effective, both securing figures of 3/21. Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Shah Afridi also contributed with wickets, limiting India’s score on a challenging pitch.

During the chase, Mohammad Rizwan held one end with a steady 31 off 44 balls, but the middle order faltered. Jasprit Bumrah’s exceptional spell (3/14) and Hardik Pandya’s crucial wickets (2/24) kept the pressure on Pakistan. Despite a late effort from Naseem Shah, who remained unbeaten on 10, Pakistan fell short by six runs, finishing at 113/7.

In the post-match presentation, Babar Azam admitted to tactical errors and an inability to handle pressure during the chase. “We bowled well, but in batting, we lost back-to-back wickets and played too many dot balls,” Babar stated. “The tactics were simple: rotate the strike and hit the odd boundary. However, in the second half of our run-chase, we had too many dot balls. We cannot expect much from the tailenders.”

Babar highlighted the need to utilize the powerplay more effectively. “Our mind was to utilize the first six overs in batting. But one wicket down, and we were not up to the mark in that phase. The pitch was decent, with the ball coming on nicely, albeit a bit slow with some extra bounce.”

Gary Kirsten echoed Babar’s sentiments, noting the self-imposed pressure during the run-chase. “The players put excessive pressure on themselves. They are all experienced international cricketers and should know how to handle such situations. It’s up to them to decide how to move their games forward.”

Kirsten acknowledged the pitch conditions, suggesting that a score of 140 would have been challenging to chase. “The surface was not dangerous, except for the odd ball rising sharply. It generally kept low with a slow outfield, so it was never going to be a big total.”

He emphasized the importance of strike rotation and maintaining a steady run rate. “We kept it at a run a ball, but then we lost wickets, stopped scoring singles, and started looking for boundaries. Once you reach that point, it becomes hard.”

Also See: Pakistan Cricket Schedule, Upcoming Matches and Series List

Despite the losses, Kirsten expressed satisfaction with the team’s bowling unit. “We have four fantastic seamers, and Imad Wasim bowled well today. If we bowl like this, we will be a difficult team to bat against.”

However, the batting order’s fragility remains a concern. “We are losing too many wickets. As a batting unit, you cannot afford that. Players must take responsibility when opportunities arise,” Kirsten added, referring to the need for batsmen to build and sustain partnerships.

With this loss, Pakistan’s chances of advancing to the knockout stages look slim. They are currently in fourth place in Group A, having lost both their games to the USA and India. Conversely, India sits at the top with two wins from two matches.

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