Source: Cricinfo

The Pakistan cricket team started their 2023 World Cup campaign with two victories, however; they encountered setbacks with two significant losses against India and Australia.

Here, we delve into three pivotal factors contributing to the struggles faced by Babar Azam and his team in the 2023 ODI World Cup.

Struggles of Key Players in the World Cup

One of the primary factors contributing to Pakistan’s challenges in the 2023 World Cup has been the underwhelming performances of their star players, beginning with the team captain. Babar Azam has experienced a forgettable campaign, posting scores of 5, 10, 15, and 18 in four matches.

Not only has he failed to make substantial contributions, but he has also appeared out of sorts at the crease. This raises concerns about whether the weight of leadership responsibilities is affecting his batting form, which is a worrying sign for Pakistan and has left critics pondering about the toll it may be taking on him.

Source: Cricinfo

Another major disappointment for Pakistan in this World Cup has been all-rounder Shadab Khan. While he has not had many opportunities with the bat, it’s his performance in bowling that raises significant concerns. The leg-spinner has lacked the usual flair and precision in his bowling, managing to secure only two wickets in three matches. Additionally, he has been on the expensive side. Given his struggles, it came as no surprise that Shadab was omitted from the game against Australia, underscoring the extent of his current challenges.

Overreliance on Mohammad Rizwan in Batting

In the batting department, Mohammad Rizwan has emerged as the cornerstone of Pakistan’s performance. His remarkable consistency with the bat has been a shining light for the team.

Following the clash between Australia and Pakistan, Rizwan emerged as the leading run-scorer in the 2023 World Cup, accumulating an impressive 294 runs in four innings. His average of 98 and a strike rate of 96.39 underscore his impactful contributions. Alongside a century and a half-century, Rizwan has notched up two 40s, showcasing his versatility and reliability.

Source: Cricinfo

While some other Pakistani batters have made noteworthy contributions, they have not quite reached the level desired by the team. Opener Abdullah Shafique stands as the only other player from the Pakistani squad among the top 10 leading run-scorers in the 2023 World Cup. He has gathered 197 runs from three matches. Saud Shakeel has managed 135 runs from four innings, while Imam-ul-Haq and Babar have accumulated 133 and 83 runs respectively. Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz have scored 61 and 57 runs respectively.

For Pakistan to secure a spot in the top four of the 2023 World Cup after the league stage, they will need more substantial contributions from their entire batting lineup. Rizwan’s performances, though outstanding, should be complemented by a collective effort from the team’s batters.

Pakistan’s Bowling and Fielding Woes

Pakistan’s performance in the 2023 ODI World Cup has been marred by lacklustre bowling and fielding. This inconsistency has proved costly in their recent matches.

Left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi displayed a remarkable comeback with a five-wicket haul against Australia. In contrast, Haris Rauf has struggled significantly in this World Cup. His performance against India, where he conceded 43 runs in just six overs without claiming a wicket, was particularly disappointing. Against Australia, Rauf faced a tough challenge from Warner and Marsh, conceding 83 runs for three wickets in eight overs.

Source: Cricinfo

In terms of leading wicket-takers in the 2023 World Cup, Afridi has secured an impressive nine scalps from four innings. Rauf, on the other hand, has managed to pick up eight wickets but at a high economy rate of 7.06. Hasan Ali, although claiming seven wickets, has been inconsistent. Shadab and Nawaz have struggled, only managing to secure two wickets, showing a lack of threat in their bowling.

Pakistan’s fielding has also been a cause for concern. The dropped catch by Usama Mir off Warner’s bat in the match against Australia was a straightforward opportunity. Unfortunately, it led to a turning point in the game.

Usama Mir drop
Source: X (formerly Twitter)

Overall, Pakistan’s ground fielding has been subpar, falling below international standards. It is crucial for them to improve in all departments before their upcoming match against Afghanistan. A strong performance in this match is vital for their chances of making it to the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup.

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