Captain Babar Azam’s form and Mohammad Rizwan’s batting approach left Pakistan with a list of questions after loss to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2022 final in Dubai. Babar managed only 68 runs in six innings at the event, which would be a concern ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia beginning next month. His opening partner Rizwan top-scored in the tournament final with 55 off 49 balls but his sluggish outing seemed unsuitable for the fast-paced format.
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan slammed Babar’s bowling tactics after the loss, saying he allowed Sri Lanka to recover from 58-5 to 170-6. The islanders saw initial struggles with Haris Rauf (3-29) inflicting damage inside the first nine overs. But Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Wanindu Hasaranga led the recovery with a 50-plus partnership. Surprisingly, Babar used left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz for only one over which went for three runs.
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“Don’t know why he was trying to stretch the match. He (Babar) must have started thinking about the death overs. When you start getting negative, you can’t plan. You play attacking cricket when you are positive. So I think we played into Sri Lanka’s hands by not setting (an) attacking field and bowling our strike bowlers when we had the upper hand,” Moin told Boss News on Tuesday.
“The way Sri Lanka came back after losing five wickets and how Rajapaksa played like a senior pro, I think it was a commendable performance and I want to congratulate them. Pakistan bowled badly and the bowling changes were equally bad.”
Moin questioned Babar for not bringing in his strike bowlers to put the opposition under pressure. Rajapaksa and Hasaranga negotiated the spin threat of Shadab Khan, who returned 1-28. Rauf had Hasaranga caught behind in the 15th over, but Rajapaksa added a further 54 in the last five overs with Chamika Karunaratne, who made an unbeaten 14.
“I think when they (Pakistan) got a wicket through a part-time bowler then they should have backed him and also kept a slip. As Rashid (Latif) said, Babar should have bowled with his strike bowler. This is common sense when you are captaining a side,” said Moin.
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