ICC World Cup 2019: Pakistan Batsmen Hop, Skip and Surrender to Fast and Furious West Indies Attack
Pakistan’s short-lived batting effort was marked by their sheer incapability to play short balls. Anything banged in short and fast was a wicket-taking ball.
West Indies' Oshane Thomas celebrates dismissing Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez during their Cricket World Cup match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on May 31, 2019. (AP Photo)
West Indies had a bit of luck before their World Cup opener against Pakistan at Nottingham. They won the toss. It wasn’t a particularly bowler-friendly pitch but WI captain Jason Holder was paying attention to the sky. It was overcast and Holder decided to trust his pace attack.
Holder’s decision bore fruits as the WI pace battery ripped through the Pakistani top order, triggering a collapse that ran down their battling lineup and wrapped up their innings, which lasted a mere 21.4 overs, at 105. This was Pakistan’s second lowest total at the World Cup; their lowest — 74 — came against England at Adelaide in 1992, a World Cup they ended up winning.
Pakistan’s short-lived batting effort was marked by their sheer incapability to play short balls. Anything banged in short and fast was a wicket-taking ball. The defining image from their innings was Mohammad Hafeez trying, struggling really, to duck away and swinging wildly in fear when Oshane Thomas banged in short. He was caught at fine leg by Sheldon Cottrell.
It was Andre Russell, brought in as the first change after Holder took himself out of the attack, whose extra pace and extra bounce laid down the template for how to bowl in the rest of the innings. Cottrell dismissed Imam-ul-Haq early on when he gloved it down leg to Shai Hope, but Fakhar Zaman displayed some intent on the other end.
Russell’s introduction, however, set the match on a course it never reversed from. It was the extra bounce and pace that did Zaman in, who was late to catch on. The ball hit his helmet and rolled back onto his stumps.
Next to go was Haris Sohail. Russell banged in short three times in a row, all of them dot balls, before tempting Sohail to take a shot, getting an edge and the wicket.
Russell, Oshane Thomas and Holder then went on the wreck the Pakistani middle order. The gameplan was set: bang it in short and get a wicket. The conditions helped the WI seamers as well. What stuck out, however, was Pakistan’s total inability to face up to short balls. Besides Zaman and Babar Azam, no one really got going.
Wahab Riaz was the last to fall, exposing his stumps to fuller one. But before he went, he tried to make a point, taking on a few short ones and sending the ball in the crowd.
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