"Babar Azam was playing a proper ODI knock" - Aakash Chopra on Pakistan's batting in 2024 T20 World Cup loss to USA

England v Pakistan - 2nd Vitality IT20
Babar Azam batted extremely cautiously at the start of his innings.

Aakash Chopra reckons Babar Azam batted too circumspectly in Pakistan's 2024 T20 World Cup loss to the United States of America. The Pakistan skipper scored 44 runs off 43 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes.

Pakistan set the USA a 160-run target after being asked to bat first in Dallas on Thursday, June 6. Although the main game ended in a tie, with Monank Patel and company scoring 159/3, the Men in Green eventually lost in the Super Over.

Reflecting on Pakistan's batting in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra noted that they lost a flurry of wickets at the start, with Babar also not helping their cause by playing extremely slowly.

"Pakistan got to bat first and they couldn't bat at all, whether it was Steven Taylor's incredible catch diving to his right where Mohammad Rizwan got out, Fakhar Zaman getting out trying to scoop the ball, or Usman Khan hitting straight and getting out," he said (1:40).
"Nosthush Kenjige, who took three wickets, bowled left-arm spin and Saurabh Netravalkar bowled left-arm pace, and wickets fell one after the other and continuously till Shadab Khan came and scored a few quick runs. Babar Azam was playing a proper ODI knock, a run-a-ball one," the former India opener added.

While acknowledging that Pakistan were under pressure, Chopra opined that Babar could have batted as aggressively as Shadab Khan.

"The truth is that you probably definitely needed to play slightly cautiously at that stage because wickets were falling from the other end but when you talk about Babar Azam's class, you say wickets were falling but you are class. There was nothing special in the pitch. You could have started dominating a little bit more. If Shadab can do that job, Babar can also do it," he elaborated.

Babar scored only seven runs off his first 22 deliveries. Although he smashed 37 runs off the next 20 balls, his slow start potentially put Pakistan behind the eight ball.

"Tried to take Pakistan to a position from where they could have fought at least" - Aakash Chopra on Shadab Khan's knock

Shadab Khan smashed 40 runs off 25 balls.
Shadab Khan smashed 40 runs off 25 balls.

While praising Shadab Khan for playing a fighting knock, Aakash Chopra noted that Iftikhar Ahmed couldn't do much and Azam Khan was dismissed for a golden duck.

"The 40 runs Shadab scored off 25 balls tried to take Pakistan to a position from where they could have fought at least. Iftikhar Ahmed scored 18 and Azam Khan got a first-ball duck - not looking good. Shaheen Afridi scored 23 off 16 and you reached 159," he said (2:55).

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Pakistan fell well short of a reasonable total.

"To be very honest, 159 were less runs. You should have scored 170-180 at a minimum because this pitch is good and the USA team was there in front of you. No disrespect but it's the USA's team, these are all amateur cricketers and you are expected to perform better than this," Chopra stated.

Nosthush Kenjige (3/30) and Saurabh Netravalkar (2/18) starred with the ball for the United States. Ali Khan (1/30) and Jasdeep Singh (1/37) were their other successful bowlers.

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