Australia beat Pakistan by 41 runs in their World Cup 2019 clash on Wednesday. Here are our five takeaways from that defeat.
Classic Pakistani way of losing
This was a classic Pakistan performance but the kind that doesn't elate you. Wayward in bowling, sloppy in fielding and careless in batting — Men in Green were back to their very worst after the England high.
With the exception of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, all Pakistani bowlers struggled — much of which was owed to their needlessly shorter length. On the rare occasions that the Aussie batters did get beat, the fielders showed their generosity.
Still, 307 was an achievable target but then Pakistani batting unit fell into the trap. Multiple guys at the top had starts but neither stuck around for much longer. The tail showed some fightback but eventually tailed off.
Time's up for Ali, Malik
He has suffered a great personal tragedy and is understandably still in grief. But the bottom line is that Asif Ali has no business playing at this level. His hit-and-miss style reminds some of Shahid Afridi but Boom Boom was so much more than just a willow wielder. He could bowl, he could field, and more importantly, he could lead.
This 2019 reincarnation of him, the man we know as Asif Ali, can't bowl, can't field and can bat but only once every 10 or so innings.
However, this of course is just about the two he dropped. Provided with the simplest of catches — not once but twice — Ali failed to accept. It was clear that he was fazed by the pressure of the game. He could still be a useful T20 player but in longer formats than that, he should be nowhere near the squad.
Talking about failures and not mentioning Shoaib Malik would be a disservice to the art of critiquing. He did not deliver against England, he did not against Australia, and he most certainly would not have against West Indies either, had he played. Everyone knows what he averages in England — an abysmal 19.54 — and he doesn't bowl much these days. Then why is he in the line-up but Shadab Khan and Haris Sohail aren't?
Vintage Amir is back
One man that we're glad is in the line-up is Mohammad Amir. Where would this team have been if Amir was left out of the World Cup, which was the original plan.
Such effusive words, of course, seem natural in the wake of a five-for but Amir was doing great long before he got any of his wickets.
It was a shame that no other pacer could follow his lead. Otherwise, the outcome could have been different, if not very different.
Is Zaman a one-trick pony?
Fakhar Zaman is a one-trick pony. He knows only one way, which is to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the ball. Had he had a lower gear too, he may have shown some restraint and paid Pat Cummins the respect he deserved.
All that was needed was for the openers to see off Cummins and Mitchell Starc before unleashing on others. But the restless Zaman threw bat on a ball that should've been left and paid the price.
Plan well-executed by Australia
Credit must also go to Australia. This is not the most powerful Aussie unit the World Cups have seen but when push came to shove, they took care of business.
Every time Pakistan threatened to make a comeback, they were swiftly pegged back. Their two front line pacers bowled with a plan, laid the trap and saw Pakistani batters take the bait.
The writer is a lifelong cricket fan who lives for the Pakistan cricket team and PSL but is also a realist and has no problems calling spade a spade.