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A year of mixed fortunes

Pakistan’s performance was average in Tests, below-average in ODIs, but stellar in T20Is

A year of mixed fortunes

It was a year full of good and bad memories for Pakistan cricket. Before the ongoing Test series between Pakistan and South Africa, we played nine Tests, 18 One-day Internationals and 19 Twenty20 Internationals in the year.

We had mixed fortunes in Test matches. Under Sarfraz Ahmed, the Green-shirts won four matches, one each against Australia, England, Ireland and New Zealand. We lost two Tests against England and South Africa and the series (2-1) against New Zealand in the UAE. It was the only Test series loss in 2018. Pakistan won the series against Australia (1-0) and Ireland (1-0). They drew the Test series in England (1-1).

Pakistan’s highest innings total of 482 came against Australia in Dubai.

During the year Pakistan scored 400-plus runs in an innings thrice: twice against Australia in the UAE and once against New Zealand, also in the UAE.

The Green-shirts were bowled out for 134 by England at Leeds. It was their lowest innings total in 2018.

Pakistan beat New Zealand by an innings and 16 runs in Dubai and won by 373 runs against Australia in Abu Dhabi.

Babar Azam was the most successful batsman with 616 runs in eight Test matches, averaging 56 including one hundred and six fifties.

Middle order batsmen Haris Sohail and Asad Shafiq were behind him with 550 and 536 runs, respectively. Haris Sohail was the only Pakistani batsman to score two hundreds in 2018. Muhammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali were the other century makers.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah and medium fast bowler Mohammad Abbas shared 38 wickets each in six and seven matches respectively. Yasir’s 8-41 against New Zealand in Dubai was the best bowling performance from Pakistan.

Skipper Sarfraz, Azhar and Asad were the only ones to play all nine matches in 2018.

Pakistan won eight ODIs and lost nine during the year. Their successes came against the weakest of teams: Zimbabwe (5-0), Afghanistan, Hong Kong and New Zealand (one each).

There was no major win against any top teams. New Zealand, India and even Bangladesh beat the Green-shirts.

The 399-1 scored against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo was Pakistan’s highest score in ODIs. Sarfraz & company crossed the 300-run mark only thrice, all against Zimbabwe.

Pakistan were bowled out for just 74 against New Zealand i2n Dunedin; it was their lowest ODI total.

The largest win came in Bulawayo where Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 244 runs. Twice did Pakistan win the ODIs against Zimbabwe by over 200 runs.

In ODIs, openers led from the front. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq remained the most successful batsmen this year.

Fakhar scored 875 runs in 17 matches, hitting two centuries and six fifties, at an average of 67.30. During the Zimbabwe series, Fakhar became the first Pakistani to score a double hundred in ODIs.

Imam scored 672 runs in 13 matches, averaging 61.09. He struck three hundreds and three half-centuries.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan remained the most successful bowler with 23 wickets in 17 ODIs at an average of 24.65.

Fast bowler Hassan Ali was behind him with 19 wickets in 15 appearances, averaging 34.00. Faheem Ashraf’s 5-22 against Zimbabwe was the best bowling performance.

Twenty20 is the most favourite format for Pakistan and they are placed on top in the ICC T20 teams ranking.

During the year, the Green-shirts played 19 matches, won 17 and lost only two, one each against Australia and New Zealand.

During the year, Pakistan beat Australia (5-1), New Zealand (5-1), Scotland (2-0), West Indies (3-0) and Zimbabwe (2-0) in the shortest format of the game.

Pakistan crossed the 200-run mark in T2OIs as many as four times (twice against West Indies and once each against New Zealand and Scotland).

In T20Is too, Fakhar was the most successful batsman with 576 runs in 17 matches, at an average of 33.88 and strike rate of 148. He scored four fifties.

In-form batsman Babar was behind him with 563 runs in just 12 matches at an stunning average of 62.55. He struck six half-centuries. His 97 not out against West Indies in Karachi was the highest T20I individual score this year for Pakistan.

Shadab took 28 wickets in 19 appearances at an average of 17.42. Faheem and Hassan got 15

Khurram Mahmood

Sports Khurram Mahmood

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