Asia Cup 2022, PAK vs AFG: Pakistan, champions in the making?
Pakistan made it to the finals of Asia Cup 2022 with a win against Afghanistan (PC: Twitter)
Pakistan and Afghanistan faced off in the fourth match of the super four of Asia Cup 2022 at the Sharjah cricket stadium. Once again Pakistan displayed nerves of steel in a pressure situation and won the match by 1 wicket in the final over.
What are the traits that are making Pakistan the team to watch out for?
In Asia Cup 2022, Pakistan has looked like a team with almost all bases covered. Let us look at the biggest positives they have displayed in the tournament.
A great combination of spinner and pacers
Pakistan's biggest strength is their well sorted bowling unit (PC: Twitter)
Looking at how Naseem Shah has bowled in the tournament, no one can guess that he made his debut in this tournament itself.
Along with Naseem, there are other talented and potent pacers who can shake any world class batting line up on any day. It will only get better for Pakistan when Shaheen Shah Afridi joins Naseem and the deadly duo opens the bowling for the team in the Australian pitches in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Adding to the well balanced pace attack there is the presence of two well sorted spinners in the team. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz had been both economical and potent in the middle overs giving Pakistan a much needed advantage in most of the matches.
Well Sorted Top Order batting line up
Pakistan's top order looks very solid (PC: Twitter)
Although the Asia Cup has been all about Mohammad Rizwan at the top order of Pakistan, there are names like Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman who are yet to fire big in the tournament. Babar and Fakhar can change the complexion of the match on any given day.
Also the combination of the top three is perfect, all three of them look to show controlled aggression. Their style ensures that Pakistan gets a positive enough start without losing too many wickets in the initial stages. This sets up the platform for the big hitters to come in later and have a go at the opposition.
An assortment of good utility players
Mohammad Nawaz played a blinder against India (PC : Twitter)
In the three matches that Pakistan have won in this Asia Cup, there have been different people who have taken them across the line. While Khushdil Shah batted brilliantly against Hong Kong, it was Mohammad Nawaz who fulfilled the responsibility against India. Against Afghanistan it was a team effort where players like Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed made valuable contributions.
The biggest thing to notice is the flexibility within the team. They have shown the courage of shuffling the batting order in all the matches and it has always clicked for them. This shows how the team management has trained the mental aspect of the players to be ready for any kind of challenge.
With three close wins, it is hard to find faults in a team. But there are certainly some minor issues which will be highlighted when they have a bad day. Given that a bad day is a part and parcel of the game, even if the team does not manage to lift the Asia Cup trophy, they are surely looking like the team to beat in the World Cup with most of their bases well covered.