World Cup 2019: Analysis of Pakistan's Campaign
Unfortunately, their poor opening game against the West Indies cost them a spot in the semi-finals. Pakistan actually ended up losing the same amount of games as New Zealand and England but were kept out of the knockouts due to a rained out match and poor run rate.
Post a loss to West Indies, Pakistan upset hosts England to register a 14-run win but lost two games in a row, one to Australia and the next one to arch-rivals India. However, the last four league stage encounters saw a resurgence from Pakistan as the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side claimed four wins in a row.
Yet, their inconsistency proved to be their undoing as they bowed out of the tournament at end of the league stages. Here is an analysis of Pakistan's campaign from this World Cup.
2019 World Cup Squad
Pakistan's squad comprised of an interesting mix of youth and experience. Both Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were among the five oldest players in the tournament, while pacers Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Afridi were two of the three teenagers in the tournament along with Mujeeb Ur Rahman from Afghanistan.
Along with Hafeez and Malik, Pakistan also boasted of experienced campaigners in Wahab Riaz and Imad Wasim. However, the core of the Pakistan squad was under the age of 28, including vice captain Babar Azam.
2019 World Cup Performance
Pakistan's World Cup can be summed up as a campaign of what could have been. Their disastrous start and up and down performances included terrible losses to the West Indies and India as well as a narrow victory over the winless Afghanistan. This was in stark contrast to Pakistan's exceptional performances against England, South Africa, New Zealand, and Bangladesh.
Pakistan's greatest victory against the hosts England came as a complete shock. England had come off a decisive victory against South Africa in their opening game of the tournament and had beaten Pakistan 4-0 in their 5 game ODI series in the lead up to the World Cup. On the other side, Pakistan were embarrassed by the West Indies in their first game after being bowled out for 105 runs.
Standouts and Discoveries
Pakistan came into the series with a spread of players from young to old. However, it was predominantly the younger brigade that performed well for the national side during the World Cup. Babar Azam was clearly the best batsman for Pakistan, finishing with 474 runs at an average of 67.71 and led the run-scorers chart for his country.
The Pakistani bowling attack, which included the likes of Wahab Riaz, was lead from the front by Mohammad Amir. However, the best discovery of the tournament was the teenage pace sensation, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Shaheen picked up 16 wickets in five games, five more wickets than the veteran Riaz despite bowling almost 20 overs lesser. Shaheen also bowled relatively tight lines, maintaining an economy of 4.96 and had one of the best strike rates of the tournament.
Pakistan's biggest disappointment would be missing out on a knockout spot, especially owing to the performance against the West Indies. Pakistan were completely bounced out by the West Indies fast short pitched attack and were bundled out for 105, which West Indies reached in 13.4 overs.
The result started Pakistan's campaign on the wrong foot and dented their NRR for the rest of the tournament. The net run rate from this game came back to prove costly as they essentially missed out on a spot in the semi-finals due to a poorer net run rate than New Zealand.
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