Pakistan endured a disappointing loss in the final of the 2022 Asia Cup last week, as they were bowled out on 147 in the 171-run chase. The Babar Azam-led side had reached the final of the tournament after wins over India and Afghanistan in the Super 4 stage, but their lack of teeth in the middle-order eventually proved costly for the side in the title clash, as only three batters could cross double figures in Pakistan‘s chase against Sri Lanka.
Even Rizwan, who ended as tournament’s highest run-getter, was under criticism for his low strike rate as an opener. In six innings, Rizwan scored 281 runs at a strike rate of 117.57 while his opening partner Babar endured a disastrous tournament from start to finish, scoring only 68 runs in six matches.
Former Pakistan star Aaqib Javed didn’t mince his words as he criticised both openers for their playing style in the shortest format of the game, insisting that if they don’t improve their run-rate, Pakistan will have difficulty chasing any target above the 150-run range.
“Babar and Rizwan will never be out from the team because they will keep scoring runs. But what’s the point of them scoring runs? You will only win those games where target is in the 150-range. When you get a target of 180, you will need an innings that Mohammad Nawaz played at no.4 (in Asia Cup game against India),” Javed said on Sports Paktv.
“We are stuck and it’s difficult to get out of it because one is the captain and the other is a vice-captain, and both play similar style of cricket. They don’t get out, both are technical batters.”
Furthermore, the former Pakistan bowler said that Fakhar Zaman should instead be opening for the side.
“You are wasting Fakhar at 3, he is an opener. The powerplay is for a reason, ICC wants batters to hit in the first six overs. We don’t even do that. How will we score 60 runs in six overs? Australia have bigger grounds, the ball bounces alot more. It will be a problem,” warned Javed.
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