In their first warm-up game of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023, Pakistan faced New Zealand on September 29. It was an opportunity for both teams to fine-tune their strategies and assess their form ahead of the prestigious tournament.
Impressive batting display by Pakistan
During the game in Hyderabad, Pakistan put up an impressive batting performance. Mohammad Rizwan stood out with a century, scoring 104 runs, while Babar Azam contributed significantly with 80 runs. Their partnership played a crucial role in Pakistan posting a competitive 345/6 in their allotted 50 overs.
Challenges in bowling and fielding
While Pakistan’s batting display was commendable, their bowlers faced challenges containing New Zealand’s aggressive batting lineup. New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra scored 97 while Kane Williamson, Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman all registered half-centuries. Despite losing a few quick wickets in between, Blackcaps maintained a high run rate, ultimately winning the game by 5 wickets with more than six overs left.
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Ramiz Raja’s analysis and future outlook
Former Pakistan captain and commentator Ramiz Raja expressed his thoughts on Pakistan’s performance during the fixture. He noted that despite being a practice match, Pakistan appeared to have developed a concerning habit of losing.
“I know it was just a practice game, but a win is a win. And winning becomes a habit. But I feel Pakistan is now getting a habit of losing. First, they lost in the Asia Cup, and now here. Pakistan scored 345 and it was a great run-chase,” Raja was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
The 61-year-old further emphasized the need for Pakistan to adapt to the conditions in India and possibly target scores exceeding 400 runs to remain competitive in the World Cup.
If these are the pitches – and you will get such pitches in India – you will have to score 400 if your bowling keeps misfiring like this. You will have to change your tactics, and take risks. And we don’t do that. We play defensively for first 10-15 overs and then shift gears,” the Faisalabad-born cricketer concluded.
As Pakistan prepares for their second warm-up game against Australia on October 3 and their World Cup campaign starting on October 6 against the Netherlands, they will likely use the insights gained from this match to address their strategies, fine-tune their game plan, and build resilience for the upcoming challenges in the quadrennial event.
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