Ramiz Raja. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Former Pakistan international Ramiz Raja expressed his disappointment after the Babar Azam-led side lost to New Zealand in the warm-up game for the upcoming ODI World Cup. Batting first, the Men in Green posted 345 runs as Mohammad Rizwan hit a sensational century while skipper Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel contributed heavily with the bat. However, it’s the bowling that let them down eventually.
New Zealand sent Rachin Ravindra to open and the 23-year-old completely changed the complexion of the game. He hit 97 runs with the bat with Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell scoring a half-century each and deciding to retire hurt in order to give other batters a chance. Towards the fag end Mark Chapman hit 65* runs off just 41 deliveries to help the Kiwis pick up an easy five-wicket win.
Pakistan’s bowling looked pretty ordinary and hence, Ramiz Raja is concerned about their performance in the World Cup. He explained that the batters often take more time than not in the opening few overs and that needs to change in the tournament. The former cricketer also reminded that if the bowlers don’t improve, the team may even have to score 400 runs to get over the line.
“I know it was just a practice game, but a win is a win. And winning becomes a habit. But I feel Pakistan are now getting a habit of losing. First they lost in Asia Cup, and now here. Pakistan scored 345 and it was a great run-chase. If these are the pitches – and you will get such pitches in India – you will have to score 400 if your bowling keeps misfiring like this. You will have to change your tactics, take risks. And we don’t do that. We play defensively for first 10-15 overs and then shift gears,” Raja was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Notably, Pakistan will play their second warm-up game against Australia on October 3 in Hyderabad. They will begin their World Cup campaign on October 6 against the Netherlands in the same city.