Wasim Akram has opined that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam should have brought Mohammad Nawaz into the attack earlier, rather than asking him to bowl the 20th over. Chasing 148, India required seven runs off the final over and Hardik Pandya hit Nawaz for a six off the fourth ball to end the contest.
Despite coming to defend a below-par 148, Pakistan fought hard till the end against India before eventually suffering a five-wicket defeat on Sunday in Dubai during their Asia Cup opener. Babar Azam made as many bowling changes as he could to keep the contest alive but it was not enough in the end. One gamble that Babar took was keeping Mohammad Nawaz, who dismissed both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, for the 20th over. The move did not work as Hardik smashed him over long on for a six to see off the target.
Speaking at the post-match show, legendary Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram was pleased with how the contest went on till it finished. However, Akram remarked Babar made one mistake in the game and that was none other than keeping Nawaz for the last over.
"I like this T20 type of pitch. I enjoyed watching bowlers bowl bouncers and getting wickets, on both sides. It was a good cricketing game that went down to the wire till the last over. Babar made one mistake. He should have had Nawaz bowl the 13th or 14th over. It was too late. You can't have a spinner in T20s bowling in the last 3 to 4 overs, especially against the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya," Akram said on Star Sports show after the end of the match.
Further, Akram congratulated India for winning the contest, but at the same time, he lauded Nawaz, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah for their valiant efforts.
"He is a very clever bowler, Nawaz. He had just bowled the straighter one, got the inside edge. Well done India. They won the game. Congratulations. But I was impressed by Pakistan's bowler. Dahani, playing his 3rd or 4th game, Naseem Shah, 20-21 years old playing his first game, Haris Rauf has been consistent for Pakistan and every bowler tried their heart out. You can see that the future is bright for Pakistan as far as fast bowling is concerned," Akram added.
Pakistan will next meet Hong Kong on September 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium,