Akram questions ‘game awareness’ of Pakistan batters against India

NEW YORK    -   Legendary pacer Wasim Akram expressed his disappointment over Pakistan’s performance during the blockbuster ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 clash against arch-rivals India on Sunday.

Set to chase 120 at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, Pakistan only managed 113 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted 20 overs.This was Pakistan’s second loss in the tournament as they previously lost to co-hosts United States of America (USA) in the Super Over.

Akram, while speaking to an Indian channel, did not mince his words in criticising the national team’s performance.“Pakistani players think that if they don’t perform well, the coaches will be sacked, and nothing will happen to them. It is time to keep the coaches and change the entire team,” Akram said.

Wasim Akram also questioned the game awareness of experienced batters Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed and Fakhar Zaman.“Iftikhar Ahmed knows only one shot on the leg side. He has been a part of the team for years but doesn’t know how to bat. I can’t go and tell Fakhar Zaman about the game awareness,” he said.

“They have been playing cricket for 10 years, and I can’t teach them. Rizwan has no game awareness. He should have known that Bumrah was given the ball to take wickets and that the wise thing would have been to play his deliveries cautiously. But Rizwan went for a big shot and lost his wicket,” he added.

Pakistan had a cautious start to the pursuit as their decorated opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan added 26 runs to the total before the former fell victim to Jasprit Bumrah in the fifth over after scoring 13.Rizwan then put together an important partnership with Usman Khan as the duo added 31 runs to the total, taking Pakistan’s total to 57 at the halfway mark.

After Usman’s dismissal, Rizwan was involved in yet another crucial partnership for Pakistan when he put together 26 runs for the third wicket with Fakhar Zaman.However, both batters perished in quick succession as Pakistan slipped to 80/4 in 14.1 overs. The back-to-back dismissal halted the flow of runs for the Green Shirts and the new pair of Imad Wasim and Iftikhar Ahmed found it tough to score freely.

Iftikhar perished on the last delivery of the penultimate over after scoring a nine-ball five while Imad followed on the next delivery, walking back after a scratchy 15 which came off 23 deliveries.Naseem Shah tried to pull off the impossible for Pakistan with his 10-run cameo but Arshdeep Singh held his nerves under immense pressure to steer India to a hard-fought victory. Pakistan will play their next match against Canada on June 11.

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