Source: Aports

In the world of cricket, the T20 format is one of the most popular and exciting versions of the sport. The shorter format of the game has gained a massive following over the years, and teams are constantly experimenting with different strategies and tactics to get an edge over their opponents.

Recently, the Pakistan cricket team captain, Babar Azam, made an interesting decision during a T20I match that raised a lot of eyebrows among fans and experts alike. Azam sent Iftikhar Ahmed at number eight, a move that many considered unconventional. However, there was a clear reason behind this decision, and in this article, we will explore why Babar Azam made this move.

First, it’s important to understand the role of a batting order in cricket. In the T20 format, teams only have 20 overs to bat, and each batsman’s position in the order is crucial in determining the team’s total score. The top-order batsmen are usually the ones who face most of the balls and set the tone for the innings, while the lower-order batsmen are responsible for finishing the innings with quick runs. Teams often choose their batting order based on the strengths and weaknesses of their players, the match situation, and the conditions of the pitch.

Heartbroken' Pakistan still hurting from India loss, says Iftikhar | Arab News PK
Source: Arab News

The situation on the pitch

Now, let’s look at the situation in which Babar Azam made the decision to send Iftikhar Ahmed at number eight. The match was a T20I game between Pakistan and South Africa, and Pakistan was batting first. The team had lost a couple of early wickets, and the score was not yet significant.

Azam had already come in to bat at number three, and the top-order had failed to make a substantial contribution to the team’s score. In this scenario, Azam needed a reliable and experienced batsman who could handle the pressure and accelerate the scoring rate towards the end of the innings.

This is where Iftikhar Ahmed came in. Iftikhar is a versatile batsman who can bat in the middle-order as well as the lower-order. He has a solid record in T20 cricket, with a strike rate of over 135 and an average of 24.31. He also has experience batting in pressure situations, having played crucial innings for Pakistan in the past. Azam recognized these qualities in Iftikhar and decided to send him in at number eight.

By sending Iftikhar at number eight, Azam was also able to utilize his bowling skills later in the game. Iftikhar is a handy off-spinner who can pick up wickets and control the run-rate. This meant that Pakistan had an extra bowling option, which could be crucial in defending the total later in the game.

Babar Azam explains his decision 

Babar Azam at a press conference on the eve of the final |
Source: Espn

In an interview after the match, Babar Azam explained his decision, saying, “We needed someone who could hit boundaries and rotate the strike, and Iftikhar is an experienced batsman who can do that. He also gives us an extra bowling option, which is always handy in T20 cricket.” This shows that Azam had a clear strategy in mind when he made the decision to send Iftikhar at number eight.

Babar Azam’s decision to send Iftikhar Ahmed at number eight in the T20I match against South Africa was a strategic move that paid off for the team. Azam recognized Iftikhar’s skills and experience as a T20 batsman and utilized him to accelerate the scoring rate towards the end of the innings. By doing so, he was also able to utilize Iftikhar’s bowling skills later in the game, which added an extra dimension to Pakistan’s attack.

What do you think about Babar’s decision? Let us know in the comments below.