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Babar Azam defends Pakistan’s batting tactics and middle order but doesn’t rule out changes

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has defended Pakistan’s approach with the bat following their loss to England in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 at the MCG.
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Babar and his fellow Pakistani batters stuttered through the first innings to reach 137/8 from their 20 overs, with only Shan Masood and Shadab Khan scoring at a rate in excess of 130 out of the recognised batters.

“I'm very sad. I think we were 20 runs short and we couldn't defend because of that,” the Pakistan captain said in his media conference after the game.

“We are very proud to play for Pakistan. It is very sad when you can't finish it. But I’m disappointed.

"We were in a different situation. We were trying to build partnerships but we couldn't. Whenever a wicket falls, the batter goes and he takes two-three balls to settle down. We came on the back foot as a batting unit.

Babar and his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan are among the highest-ranked T20I batters in the world and have scored a vast quantity of runs in recent years for Pakistan.

But the pair have come in for criticism at times due to their safety-first approach during the Powerplay, often scoring relatively slowly compared to other top nations and then looking for the team to use the platform set in order to accelerate in the second half of the innings.

The same occurred in the final, with Babar scoring 32 from 28 and Rizwan 15 from 14. But the skipper says the tactic isn’t necessarily the wrong one.

"It depends on the situation. I think they had three dismissals in the first six overs and we had two. It depends on the situation and the conditions, what is the demand from you and after that you plan. Every team has its own plans and we stuck to our plan.

"Sometimes we are not able to give 100% on it. We try not to repeat our mistakes. But this is a part of the game. Sometimes you do well and sometimes you don't. This is the beauty of cricket. Every day is different."

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With the openers so often being the dominant force in Pakistan’s T20 batting effort, the middle order have struggled to make an impression at times in the past couple of years.

Masood’s 28-ball 38 and Shadab’s quickfire 20 aside, there were limited contributions from the players down the order in the final.

But, asked if he was disappointed in the middle order, the captain responded:

"As a team, we win. As a team, we lose. The way we started, we couldn't finish well. On the 11th over, it was 80-85. I think we should have finished at 150. I think we made some mistakes."

With the next Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in the Caribbean and United States in two years’ time, there is an opportunity for teams to make changes following this year’s tournament and build across the next 24-month cycle.

But Babar says the Pakistan hierarchy will now turn their attention towards the upcoming Test Series against England and New Zealand before making any personnel decisions in the shorter form of the game.

“It’s too early to decide,” he said.

“We'll play Tests next and when T20Is come around again we'll decide.”


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