Opening woes continue to haunt Pakistan at World Cup

(Reuters) – A pair of comfortable wins after two losses to start the World Cup have given a more settled look to Pakistan but the 1992 champions still seem to have no clue as to how to solve their opener problem.

Pakistan’s troubles started when all-rounder and regular opener Mohammad Hafeez was ruled out with a calf muscle injury a week before the World Cup, and the team flew out Nasir Jamshed as a replacement.

Senior batsman Younus Khan, desperately in need of runs, was moved up to partner Ahmed Shehzad at the top in Pakistan’s opening match against arch-rivals India but the experiment failed as the 37-year-old managed just six runs.

The out-of-form Younus lost his place in the wake of the 76-run loss to their bitter rivals, giving Jamshed the chance to claim the spot of the second opener.

However, the 25-year-old has since scored just five runs in his three outings.

Adding to his struggles with the bat, Jamshed has been extremely poor in the outfield, his dropped catches making him the target of barracking from the crowd.

Coach Waqar Younis said Pakistan would need to go back to the drawing board.

“We need an opener as we don’t have a third option after the return of Hafeez,” Younis told reporters after Pakistan’s 129-run win over United Arab Emirates in Napier on Wednesday.

“It’s a problem, there’s no doubt about that. We have two days before our next match and we will sit down and rework our strategy on what our best 11 is.”

 

RIGHT BLEND

The string of failures at the top have meant Pakistan managed just 11, 0, 1 and 10 for the opening wicket in their four matches at the World Cup thus far.

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