Pakistan and Australia are currently playing a crucial encounter in the ODI World Cup 2023 in Bengaluru. Babar Azam won the toss and invited the Aussies to bat first, but Pakistan couldn’t help themselves as they dropped three regulation catches in the field. Usama Mir, who replaced Shadab Khan for this encounter, dropped a sitter in the fifth over when David Warner was batting on 10. The southpaw made Pakistan pay as he notched up his fifth century in ODI World Cups.
Warner gave another chance when he was batting on 105 but Abdullah Shafique couldn’t hold on to a catch, after running to his right from deep mid-wicket. Mir was the bowler on this occasion. He produced another chance in his next over as Steve Smith edged one through to Babar Azam at first slip. However, the Pakistan captain couldn’t hold on.
Shoaib Akhtar, who doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind on social media, lambasted Pakistan’s fielding performance as Australia made the most of the opportunities to set a daunting target of 368 in the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023 encounter.
“As it is, you’re not able to create opportunities. Atleast grab the ones which batters are giving. Come on guys, you cant drop so many catches!!!!!!” Shoaib wrote on his official ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) handle.
As it is, you’re not able to create opportunities. Atleast grab the ones which batters are giving.
Come on guys, you cant drop so many catches!!!!!!
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) October 20, 2023
While most of the Pakistani bowlers were taken to the cleaners by the Aussie batters, Shaheen Afridi stood out. He finished with excellent figures of 5/54 in his 10 overs.
This is the left-arm pacer’s second five-wicket haul in the 50-over World Cup. He picked up six wickets against Bangladesh in the previous edition of the showpiece event. Overall, this is Shaheen’s third five-for in ODIs and it should give him a lot of confidence after receiving some criticism for his indifferent performances in the first three games.
Pakistan’s fielding performance has been a major concern for the team throughout the tournament. They have dropped several catches in previous matches as well, and it has cost them dearly. If Pakistan want to challenge for the World Cup title, they need to improve their fielding significantly.