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Hasan Ali’s throwback five-for in vain as batting sinks Pakistan once more

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Fast bowler regrets his own efforts couldn’t save series as England seal 2-0 lead

Pakistan’s top order batting is supposed to be their strength in white-ball cricket but over the course of the last two ODIs it has become the cause of a chastening series loss. In Cardiff on Thursday they were reduced to 26 for 4 even as the game had barely begun; at Lord’s on Saturday they stumbled to 36 for 3 and then 53 for 4. Not many games are going to be won from those positions.

A couple of mitigating factors might be charitably thrown in. Neither of the surfaces have been the surfaces we have become used to in an England ODI, where 320 is merely par. And Saqib Mahmood’s opening bursts have been of game-breaking quality in both games. But against what was, to all intents and purposes, the actual shadow England attack, expectations of a top order containing Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and an in-form Fakhar Zaman should not be capitulating as they did. Not two games in a row.
Pakistan’s bowling may have been wasteful but it wasn’t the bowling that lost it, as Hasan Ali pointed out. “Faheem [Ashraf] and Haris [Rauf] bowled a little short and maybe outside of the stumps too,” he said. “In every match, a few players perform and we couldn’t do it today. But in ODIs 300 is a par score and we restricted them to 250, we got back into the game. But unfortunately we collapsed and we couldn’t get partnerships going. As a bowling unit, okay we gave away a few runs, but we still kept them to 250 so as a bowling unit I think we did well.

“We have coaches here, they know what mistakes they are making. But don’t forget, the same batsmen have done a lot for Pakistan recently. We’ve played well in a couple of series before this. Our top order scored runs in South Africa before this, Fakhar, Babar, Rizwan all scored runs there. Here unfortunately they just couldn’t and that is where we lost both matches.”

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