A 5-0 whitewash shouldn't have happened to the ICC Champions Trophy winners, who were equipped with the No. 1 bowler, No. 1 all rounder and the No. 4 batsman in the ICC ODI rankings. But that's exactly how it turned out as Pakistan ended a nine match unbeaten steal with only their third 5-0 whitewash in history. Pakistan have now failed to win a single ODI in each of their last three ODI series in New Zealand.
Pakistan have now failed to win a single ODI in each of their last three ODI series in New Zealand
Here are, from a statistician’s eye, five reasons why Pakistan lost the ODI series:
Dot balls are an important stat of the limited overs cricket which defines the performance of a team. The difference between the dot-ball percentages played out by both the teams shows a clear winner. 59.40% of the balls Pakistan played were dots, which accumulates to 122.4 overs of the total 206.3 overs Pakistan batted during the series. New Zealand on the other hand batted for 219.4 overs, which was just 47.57% of the total overs batted.
Pakistan’s dot ball % was higher or equal to 55% of the overs played in each of the matches played, rising to an alarming 75.61% in match three where they were bowled out for a record low total. New Zealand’s dot ball % comparatively remained under 50% in all matches.
Since the start of 2016 till the end of 2017, the trio of Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and Azhar Ali had scored 43% of the runs scored by Pakistan in ODIs, but neither of the batsmen could make it count during this series. The trio could only manage 92 runs combined across 12 innings, which is less than 10% of what Pakistan scored with the bat in this series.
Non-boundary runs, define the mobility of batsmen and the agility of the fielding side. They exert pressure on the bowling side and also help to set a platform to charge at the later stage of the innings.
55.74% of the runs New Zealand scored off the bat in this series came from 1s, 2s and 3s. Pakistan could manage only 45.8% of their runs through such rotation of strike rate, which means that they depended too much on scoring boundaries.
The ICC Emerging Player of the Year Hasan Ali has been Pakistan’s best bowler in all of their last four series. However, in this series he looked off colour and was even rested for the first time in his career. The number one bowler in ICC ODI Rankings conceded runs at a rate of 6.41 runs per over compared to his career economy rate of 5.11, while his series strike-rate also was worse than his career rate.
Besides him, the rest of the Pakistan bowling unit in general failed to exert any pressure on the Kiwi batsmen. No bowler except Mohammad Amir could bowl with a dot ball % above 55, something which every the Kiwi bowler except Todd Astle accomplished.
The search for a stable opening pair has already been a talking point among cricket pundits, Pakistan tried five different batsmen and four different opening pairs during the five match series. Faheem Ashraf, who has never opened in his entire professional career, was sent to open the innings against the likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult. While Sarfraz Ahmed may have Fakhar Zaman’s and Azhar Ali’s injuries as an excuse, the desperation to find the right combination at the top is still evident in the Pakistan camp who have now tried 17 different opening pairs since the last World Cup.