The victory over Zimbabwe, although achieved with much greater effort than any of Pakistan’s past victories against this country in this competition, comes as a huge relief. It was a do or die game and Pakistan did do, if only just.
The huge problem Pakistan is facing at the top of the batting order shows no sign of abating. 14 for 2 after the first 10 overs against what can only be described as a modest attack is ridiculous by any standards and unless there is a massive improvement in the way Pakistan’s top four batsmen bat, the future is bleak. Misbah played an excellent innings although his very slow progress must have put great pressure on those who followed him. Wahab Riaz was excellent with both bat and ball and it was his superb cameo of 54 towards the end of the Pakistan innings that gave Pakistan a score which, in the end, was just barely defendable.
I am not quite sure what was the basis on which it was decided to play Nasir Jamshed again in this match when it was clear in the West Indies game that he was not yet ready for this level. There must have been quite a few practice sessions between the West Indies and Zimbabwe matches and it would be interesting to know what the tour selectors saw in these sessions that convinced them that Nasir should play. By playing him when he is so clearly not ready they are doing Pakistan, themselves, the team and above all Nasir himself, no favours. For the next game there would appear to be no alternative but to bring in Sarfraz and ask him to open as well as keep wickets, thus freeing Umar Akmal as an outfielder which should boost Pakistan’s dismal fielding standard.
The game against the UAE has to be won and won handsomely, for it quite possible that in the end it may come down to run rates between Pakistan, Ireland and the West Indies. The top order batting now simply has to click.