Has Pakistan bettered its odds of winning the T20 World Cup after winning against India?
By beating India and New Zealand in consecutive matches, Pakistan has shown everyone what it’s capable of. Even before the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 had started, many experts had said that Pakistan was one of the favourites to reach the semi-finals.
Now that Pakistan has comprehensively beaten both India and New Zealand, which are some of the best sides in the tournament, it seems that it’s odds of winning the T20 World Cup are certainly better than earlier.
In this blog, Fun88’s experts will discuss whether Pakistan can emerge as the champion of the T20 World Cup and the reasons why it has a better chance of winning the tournament now.
Pakistan has experience of playing in the UAE, which has turned out to be immensely useful
Even before the T20 World Cup started, the captain of Pakistan, Babar Azam, said that his team has experience of playing in the UAE, which will be useful because the cricket world cup is happening in the UAE and Oman.
At that time, not many people had paid attention to Babar, but his words have turned out to be true. If you think of it, the slow pitches of the UAE and Oman are quite different from T20 pitches in other parts of the world.
Typically, T20 pitches tend to be flat, which allow batters to play their shots easily. But in the UAE and Oman, the ball comes to the bat so slowly that batsmen can’t play their shots freely.
In such conditions, they have to use the crease to make space for playing their shots, something which Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam did exceedingly well against India.
Besides, the playing conditions at the UAE and Oman haven’t supported swing bowling much. Therefore, bowlers have to bowl well by taking the pitch out of the equation.
Pakistani bowlers performed really well on this count, too. In particular, Shaheen Afridi used yorkers well to rattle the Indian top order. Jasprit Bumrah also tried to use yorkers, but he wasn’t successful in doing so.
Several Pakistani players are contributing with bat and ball
When many players of a team contribute, then it’s a sure sign that the team is doing well. That’s true of Pakistan in the ongoing world cup. If Afridi, Babar, and Rizwan excelled against India, Haris Rauf, Shoaib Malik, and Asif Ali played well against New Zealand to help their team register victory.
Haris bowled superbly against the Kiwis by taking the wickets of Martin Guptill, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, and Mitchell Santer. Haris used angles and variations to trouble the batters. This again emphasizes that bowlers have to be more innovative on slow pitches of the UAE and Oman to take wickets.
When Guptill went down the leg side, Haris bowled on his legs, which Guptill missed and got bowled. Similarly, he took Conway’s wicket by cunningly bowling a slower delivery, which induced Conway into playing a lofted shot only to get caught.
Even for Philips, Haris used a slower ball, which deceived him, and he ended up giving away his wicket. While chasing a total of 135 against New Zealand, Pakistan was 87 for 5 at one stage, and it seemed that the Kiwis had a realistic chance of winning the match, but to no avail, as Malik and Asif showed a lot of maturity by batting sensibly.
Malik scored 26 runs off 20 deliveries, and Asif made 27 runs off 12 deliveries to take their team home. Meanwhile, Rizwan scored 33 in this match, too, after making 79 runs against India. He surely seems to be in red-hot form in 2021.
Ever since he moved up the order, he’s been piling runs. But, most importantly for Pakistan, the fact that as many as six players have contributed to two victories shows that the team is peaking at the right time.
Pakistani fielding has been a lot better than earlier
In the past, a regular feature of Pakistan’s performance used to be dropped catches and misfields. Even on their good days, Pakistani players weren’t really known for their fielding, but it seems that they have done their homework for the T20 World Cup.
In the two matches they have played so far, their fielding has been top-notch. As a result, there were hardly any dropped catches or misfields. The Pakistani fielders are doing their best to support their bowlers and prevent leakage of runs.
In fact, even their bowlers are fielding well on their own bowling. The way Hasan Ali fielded on his own bowling, which eventually got Kane Williamson run out, showed that this Pakistani team means business.
Similarly, their catching has been exceptional. Fakhar Zaman’s catch of James Neeshan proves that this team is not willing to let chances go easily.
To sum it up, this Pakistani team looks a lot calmer and more assured than earlier. They have worked on basics, be it batting, bowling, or fielding and seem to be playing as a unit. Earlier, Pakistan would depend upon two or three players to win a match, but now a considerably higher number of their players are doing well, which is a good sign.
As Babar said, Pakistan has experience of playing in the UAE, and it clearly reflected in its performance against India and New Zealand. Based on these factors, it seems to us that Pakistan has indeed a better chance of winning the ICC T20 World Cup after beating India and the Kiwis than they had earlier.
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