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Asia Cup 2023: 3 points of concern for Pakistan’s campaign with World Cup 2023 in mind

Asia Cup 2023 3 points of concern for Pakistans campaign with World Cup 2023 in mind

The Asia Cup 2023 proved to be a disappointing campaign for Pakistan, the top-ranked ODI team, as they exited the tournament prematurely, leaving many unanswered questions. Despite entering with confidence and a well-balanced squad, they had an inconsistent run. Pakistan started impressively with wins against Nepal and Bangladesh but suffered a heavy defeat to India in the Super 4 stage. In a must-win game against Sri Lanka, they faced a heartbreaking loss, falling short by two wickets in a nail-biting finish determined by the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.

Adding to their woes, Pakistan lost key fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf to injuries during the India match, and they might miss the start of the ICC World Cup 2023, scheduled for October 5. The Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka match was a gripping contest, highlighted by Kusal Mendis’ brilliant 91 and Charith Asalanka’s unbeaten 49, steering Sri Lanka to victory. Pakistan, with contributions from Abdullah Shafique (52) and Mohammad Rizwan (86*), set a challenging target of 252/7 in 42 overs, choosing to bat first.

Let us look at three points of concern for Pakistan’s campaign with World Cup 2023 in mind:

1. Lack of quality spinners

One of the major concerns that was highlighted throughout the Pakistan team’s Asia Cup campaign was their bowling lineup failing to take wickets in the middle overs. One of the major reasons for them not taking wickets was the ineffectiveness of their spinners ‘ wickets in the middle overs. Both Shadab Khan as well as Mohammad Nawaz have leaked runs in the middle overs as well as were not able to pick wickets.

2. Unavailability of Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf

Asia Cup 2023 3 points of concern for Pakistan's campaign with World Cup 2023 in mind
Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf

Another headache that will be haunting the Pakistan team as well as their fans will be the injury concerns surrounding Naseem Shah as well as Haris Rauf. In the game against India which went into reserve day, Haris Rauf pulled out with a strain in the right flank. Following in the last stages of the Indian innings saw, Naseem Shah also complaining about discomfort to their shoulder. Later, the scans revealed that Naseem had sustained a shoulder injury.

With the World Cup just around the corner, the availability of both these pacers will be crucial if Pakistan wants to do well in the World Cup.

3. Unsettled batting lineup

In their last match against Sri Lanka, the Pakistan team made as many as five changes which shows that the team is not clear about their playing XI. In addition to this, the poor form of Fakhar Zaman will be a major concern for the team management as he is the team’s first-choice opener. Along with that lower middle order remains a headache for Babar Azam and the team management.

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