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5 takeaways from Pakistan's loss against Australia
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

5 takeaways from Pakistan's loss against Australia

Batsmen getting in and getting out

Imam ul Haq got out after just getting to his fifty as he was found wanting again, flirting with a wayward delivery from Pat Cummins that was going down leg and it would have been a wide had he left it alone. But he lost his composure and got a feather edge through to the keeper while miscuing a pull shot. Next up was Babar Azam who was batting brilliantly. But the short ball came back haunting him and he mistimed a hook, getting a top edge off Nathan Coulter-Nile's bouncer that flew straight to Richardson behind square. The other culprit was Mohammad Hafeez as he picked out deep midwicket on a harmless full toss darted in by Aaron Finch. He was undone by the gentle part timer's off-spin and he threw his wicket away at a crucial juncture. Shoaib Malik faltering in a high voltage game proved far too costly as Sarfraz was left stranded in the end with tail despite late heroics by Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali.

Ragged fielding

Asif Ali reminded us of the time before Mickey Arthur and Steve Rixon took over the setup when Pakistan used to be infamous for sloppy fielding. Asif shelled Finch in the slip cordon during 12th over of Wahab when he was batting at 25*. Later, on two consecutive deliveries of Wahab's over, 36.1 and 36.2, Asif dropped two sitters of Warner at third man. It is perplexing how the selection committee revert to accepting mediocrity in fielding standards. Mickey Arthur has said in the past in unequivocal terms that he won't compromise on fielding standards but the policy seems to have been relaxed for the hard-hitting batsman.

Not fully exploiting the conditions

Mohammad Amir was hands down the pick of the bowlers as he got the correct assessment of conditions, brought in his experience and bowled at the nagging line, creating chances consistently and ending up with a five-fer. However, the other speedsters, especially young Shaheen Afridi, didn’t bowl with a clear plan with the new ball and released pressure from the other end that allowed the opening partnership to flourish. But to their credit, they did pull it back magnificently afterwards, limiting Australia to 307.

Captaincy errors

We all know that Asif Ali isn't one of the most agile fielders and captains tend to hide their clumsy fielders in spaces like cow corner than placing them in a hot spot such as slips. There was a tactical error during Shaheen's initial burst when the captain didn't place any slip fielder and Warner edged one wide to slips during Shaheen's first spell. Being the leader of the pack, Sarfraz could have briefed possibly overwhelmed Shaheen to bowl in the channel outside off. Moreover, Amir, being the seasoned player, could have shared his insights whilst Shaheen was struggling with the new cherry.

Selection conundrums

Wasim Akram opined that leaving Shadab Khan is like Australia dropping Shane Warne when he was at the pinnacle of his career. Although the chasm between the two leg spinners is colossal, the point is that you don't leave out a match winner, and arguably your best fielder. Having an extra all-rounder in the shape of Shadab Khan or Imad Wasim could have been the difference in the end.