NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom: Pakistan lived up to it’s tag of being “unpredictable” by upsetting world number one England by 14 runs in a World Cup match on Monday, just three days after losing to world number eight West Indies in their first game.
An aggressive Pakistan team turned up at Trent Bridge against pre-tournament favourites England and put up a contrasting performance from their seven wicket humiliation against the West Indies at the same venue on Friday.
It proved all the notions about Pakistan – that they can lose to any weaker team on a bad day and beat the best on a good one.
Former England captain turned commentator Nasser Hussain offred a catchy line during the final of the Champions Trophy in 2017, in which Pakistan beat India by 180 runs.
“Pakistan cricket at its best, one minute down, next minute up,” said Hussain when Azhar Ali dropped Virat Kohli off Mohammad Amir and with the very next ball Shadab Khan took a sharp catch.
Put in to bat by England, they knocked their second highest World Cup total of 348-8, just one short of their score against Zimbabwe at Jamaica in the 2007 World Cup.
It was the complete opposite to the way they batted on Friday when they were shot out for their second lowest total of 105 by the West Indies pace trio of Oshane Thomas, Jason Holder and Andre Russell.
West Indies polished off the low target for the loss of just three wickets in a mere 13.4 overs as Pakistan players were left demoralised by the defeat.
With former players and fans back home criticising the team for its inept play, they roared back against England, putting on 69-0 in the ten over power-play – a contrast from 45-3 against the West Indies.
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed accepted his team could blow hot and cold.
“That’s the interesting thing about Pakistan, so I always say be patient with us,” Sarfaraz told AFP after the match. “We told the players to show aggression against England and stage a strong comeback.
“I am happy that they did that. The most important thing was to put in a decent opening stand and once we did that we posted a good total and then the bowlers did very well.”
Pakistan’s head coach Mickey Arthur last month said he and his staff hate the tag, linked to the Pakistan team for years now.
“Unpredictable - that’s a word that us as a coaching staff hate,” Mickey had said.
But Pakistan’s performances in their first two World Cup matches show that Mickey had to live with the tag. — AFP