Poor planning, fragile batting cause of defeat
The last of the three contests, played in Abdu Dhabi’s under prepared wicket, also showed lack of planning . Pakistan was on course to victory, but just could not deal well in the last two overs from opposite captain Stuart Broad and Danbarrach. 17 runs in 12 deliveries were gettable, but Umar Akmal just did not know how to take singles. He moved to leg stumps, sometime way outside, and Broad, sensing that bowled outside the off stumps. Three precious deliveries were wasted.Akmal brothers, very fond of cutting and pulling, often fail at the last moment because of their over enthusiasm. Umar Akmal too was looking to cut the ball to point or cover boundary, or to pull it towards midwicket, and paid a heavy price. Just 4 runs could be scored off the penultimate over, and 13 runs in the last over, was naturally a huge target. Shahid Afridi, failed once again with the bat. The trio, comprising skipper Misbahul Haq, Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi, have enough experience to understand that the wicket lacked bounce, and not conducive to strokeplay. The ball was keeping low. It needed graft and all three looked for big hits, which in turned cost them the match.
Had Umar and Misbah only tried to take singles , the 19th over, could have fetched them 6 runs, another 11 may well have been attempted through singles or an early attempt for a boundary or 6. Misbah tried to loft towards midwicket the last ball to get the required six runs for victory, but missed the line and was bowled, to concede the match and the series to England.
It is now crystal clear, that not much guidance was provided to Pakistani players before the match as to which player will have to face how many deliveries, and get how many runs for the side. Complete lack of planning was visible throughout the ODIs and the T-20s.
Pakistan, having won a Test series 3-0 forgot the basic lesson that cricket can be very , very unforgiving. They all seemed over confident, Second principle handicap was their fielding which left much to be desired. In fact a clue should have been taken from the England fielding. Their players were alert all the time, and saved 15 to 20 runs in every match, and that paid handsome dividends.
Our players body language showed lack of agility. The wicketkeeper wasted huge stumping chance when the batsmen was atleast two feet away from the crease.The keeper just could not hold the ball, and also the throw by the Pakistanis displayed waywardness of the highest order.
Run out chances went abegging. Batting line up suffered from lack of maturity almost in every contest of the limited over games. A target of 130 was easy if only planning was done properly. Pakistan lost the last match by 5 runs which was tragic.
England bowled with a purpose. Broad swung the ball in the 19th over to ensure that four of his deliveries in an over were dot balls. Only 4 was hit off and then Umar was caught, mistiming a big hit.
Afridi was just nowhere. He was clearly clueless. But then he came at a time when not much was left and since the ball was keeping low, he found it difficult to play his lofted strokes. Misbahul Haq too was slow in scoring. He should have been a role model for others, which he was not.
The entire series, including the Test matches belonged to the bowlers. Batting collapses were from both sides, But while England did well with their fast bowlers, who swung off the seam and off the wicket,Pakistani spinners, especially Saeed Ajmal came out brilliantly to be a constant source of worry for the rival batsmen.
Pakistan should now do some sole searching. The question needed to be answered here is what for Shoaib Malik was included in the team, when he was not there in the original side.
He could not contribute much, except for an innings of 37, which was of some value, he was just a passenger in the rest of the series. In the last match he bowled just one over. What was his utility then.Selectors, the coach and the cricket board must ponder on that.