The middle order of the Pakistan cricket team has been facing criticism for putting up terrible displays on a regular basis. According to experts, Pakistan’s defeat in Asia Cup and T20I series against England was mostly due to the poor performances of players coming at 4, 5, 6, and 7 spots. Fans have particularly called out Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, and Iftikhar Ahmed for consistently failing to deliver. Most of the time, it’s up to the openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan to carry the batting of the Pakistani team. After their fall, the chances of winning the match also become thin. This harsh reality has led fans to express their disappointment in the form of memes.
Middle Order of Pakistan Falls Like Dominos
Cricket fans have been making fun of the MO players for not doing their jobs properly. Middle-order batters try to knock as many runs as they can in fewer possible overs to shift the game in the team’s favour. Instead, the middle order of Pakistan has become notorious for turning the game in opponents’ favour. Especially after a perfect start to the match, they are unable to continue the pace set by the first 3 batters. In many instances, Pakistani fans have lost hope after the wickets of Babar and Rizwan.
Change is Required
Fans and experts have been calling for changes in the team to solve the MO issue. The stats of the rest of the team compared to the openers are baffling. For example, in the England T20I series, Babar and Rizwan collectively scored 601 runs, while the rest of the team was able to rack up only 485 in total. The stark contrast has been bothering viewers and probably some players too, who are maintaining their work rate. In many matches, viewers often joke that it would be better if the game ends with Babar and Rizwan so they don’t have to rely on MO.
Memes are also being made to laugh at the slower pace of Pakistan’s MO. In 2022, the middle-order batters were able to score 40+ only three times in an innings. Shaan Masood, Mohammad Nawaz, and Shadab Khan were the standout performers, whereas the main MO, which includes Haider, Asif, Iftikhar, and Khushdil, were hardly able to cross 30+ runs. Here is one meme where it is ranked below a turtle, a snail, and even PTCL broadband.
What Could be the Weakness?
It looks like some Pakistani fans have found out why the middle order of Pakistan plays terribly. Usually, the MO is required to attack the spinners and hit as many shots as they can instead of merely touching and running. The current lineup has not shown any durability against the spinners. To fans, it seems that players are probably afraid of facing spin bowlers.
Is Shadab the Solution?
In the match against New Zealand on October 8, Pakistan promoted Shadab to number 4 from 7. It turned out as a surprise for the black shirts as Khan smashed 34 in a rapid-fire fashion to help Pakistan achieve a comfortable lead. His 95-meter six was the highlight of his performance which fans celebrated on social media. Pakistan went on to win the first T20 match but lost the second one on October 11. Both teams will meet for the final on October 14.