Pakistan At World Cup 2023: Adapt Or Perish

Pakistan can only blame themselves for the loss against India. But it is only Pakistan who can pick themselves up, dust down and realize there is still a tournament to be played and won

Pakistan At World Cup 2023: Adapt Or Perish

As the Pakistan national cricket team gears up to take on Australia in the ICC Cricket World Cup, it has a lot of soul-searching to do.

Its last outing culminated in a disappointing and painful defeat against India by six wickets. The team could not fire either with the bat or the ball, just a match after making a World Cup record with the highest run chase.

The defeat meant that Pakistan slipped to fourth in the World Cup table. With a negative run rate, it means South Africa stays above them in third even though both teams have four points from three matches played. Thus, Pakistan can ill-afford any further slip-ups if it wants to get to the tournament's final stages.

But the first thing to do would be to see where Pakistan faltered against India and what it can do to remedy it.

Put into bat by India, Pakistan's batting was a disaster. After the dismissal of captain Babar Azam, the team suffered a complete collapse, losing a whopping eight wickets for just 36 runs.

This was due to several factors, including the team's failure to adapt to the conditions. The team failed to read the pitch and make changes either to the lineup or to their batting style. The pitch was slow and turning, but the Pakistani batsmen could not cope. They played too many sweep shots and were easily dismissed by the Indian bowlers.

With barely any Pakistani fans in the stadium and amidst hostile chants, the team seems to have felt a lot of pressure to score and to score big. This meant that the team lost its composure and went after big boundaries. 

This created the gaps that Indian bowlers needed to sneak in and grab a tonne of wickets.

The resurgence of Jasprit Bumrah, too, was a little untimely for Pakistan. However, its batting order should have been able to handle him.

Losing wickets, a hostile environment and mounting pressure to post runs on the board meant that the team made poor choices when selecting the shots. As mentioned earlier, they opted for sweep shots and made a ton of unforced errors that gave away their wickets.

For example, Babar Azam was dismissed trying to smash a six over long-on when he could have easily played a more conservative shot and kept his wicket.

As a captain, Babar needs to play a little more responsibly, especially in a match of the magnitude against India. As the captain, he needs to not only display greater mental fortitude but also ensure that he stays on the crease to ensure a good platform for his team to launch off - whether to post a high score or do enough to give his bowlers a fighting chance. There are times when he needs to show aggression, but he has to learn to manipulate team members into displaying more of those emotions as well.

One factor that Pakistan perhaps did not anticipate in their planning was perhaps the resurgence of Indian bowlers. Bumrah and company all bowled exceptionally well, which was reflected in the final figures, with most bowlers sharing the wickets evenly. India were very disciplined and accurate in their bowling. This made it very difficult for Pakistani batsmen to score runs. Bumrah picked up two wickets for just 19 runs in seven overs, including a maiden. He was rightly named the Player of the Match for his performance, which single-handedly turned the tide of the match in India's favour.

Elsewhere, too, there were solid performances from Indian bowlers who made light work of the Pakistani team, bowling them out with around eight overs to spare.

Beyond the bat, Pakistan struggled against India with the ball as well. 

This was down to two factors. First, Pakistan's bowling was far below its ferocious best. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hassan Ali and Haris Rauf could not make the dent they hoped to even though they managed to get the dangerous man Virat Kohli early. 

The trio has yet to find its rhythm, it seems. Afridi has been quite soft since his comeback. Hassan Ali spent a large period out of the team and was suddenly included in this tournament as a strike bowler who appears to be quite rusty. Rauf, who also returned from injury recently, appears far from his best.

Moreover, they all seem to lack the necessary discipline to ensure an effective and wicket-taking pace attack. Here, perhaps, they can learn something from the likes of Bumrah.  

The second was strong batting from India, which starkly contrasted Pakistan's.

Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer scored half-centuries and paced their innings perfectly. They did not try to hit too many boundaries and were content to rotate the strike and build a partnership. This allowed India to chase down the target with ease. But their ability with the bat meant they could wrap up the game in just 30 overs, keeping a keen eye on the required run rate. In fact, the only criticism they faced was why they could not wrap up such a small total within 20 overs.

Before we move on, there has to be a thought spared for the coaches as well. Sure, it is the players who execute it on the pitch, but it is the job of the coaches to prepare the team for the opposition they will face. 

It seemed as if the team had no answer to any of the Indian attacks, whether in bowling or batting. There would need to be some introspection there as well. 


Pakistan's loss to India was humiliating, least of all for the bragging rights.

To their credit, India completely outplayed Pakistan in all departments of the game.

The Green Shirts batted poorly, their bowling was ineffective, and the fielding was sloppy.

India, on the other hand, played a near-perfect game. Their batting was disciplined, their bowling was accurate, and their fielding was sharp.

In addition to the factors listed above, a few other things may have contributed to Pakistan's defeat. For example, they may have been under pressure because they were playing their arch-rivals. They may also have been affected by the fact that they were playing in India, where India has a very good record.

The good news for Pakistan is that one defeat can not and should not define their tournament. The players need to remember they still have a job to do and that it is a long competition which will offer them plenty of opportunities to redeem themselves. Australia should be the perfect start where they can lay down a marker. 

Let us not forget that until recently, Pakistan was the top-ranked ODI team in the world. Many of the players that got it there are still in the side and can make a difference.

Overall, Pakistan's loss to India was a disappointing one. They will need to improve their performance in all departments of the game if they want to compete with the best teams in the world.