Pakistan in Asia Cup 2018 – Strengths & Weaknesses
With only few days to go for Asia Cup 2018 punters are busy working on their strategies for the event. It will see the five Test playing teams in Asia along with one qualifier lock their horns to be crowned the champions of Asia. Pakistan goes into the tournament as one of the strongest sides. The team has always been punters’ best friend and also their worst nightmare. Unpredictability is a word attached to Pakistani cricket as the team has habit of pulling out sensational performances from nowhere and also falling like a pack of cards with the same ease.
The team is currently ranked No 5 in the world and has decimal odds of 3.75 riding on it to win the tournament. The side has been in decent form winning 10 out of its last 15 ODIs. But it isn’t the win percentage or form that matter for a Pakistani side it is how they shape up on a given day. After starting miserably in Champions Trophy 2017 and qualifying for the knockout stages narrowly they emerged victorious. This is what makes the team such a favourite in the betting marketing. Here we take a close look at their strengths and weaknesses as they go into Dubai in their bid to win the title for the third time.
Pakistan has a strong batting line up with the Top 3 having shown sensational form in the last few games. Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman have become a great opening pair in the recent times especially Zaman who is going through a purple patch in his career having scored a double hundred recently. The ever dependable Babar Azam looks solid at No. 3 and has been toying away with bowlers for quite some time now. Sohaib Malik brings years of experience to the middle order and with skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed at No. 6 they have one of the best finishers in the game.
But it is the Pakistani bowling which lends strength to the side. Like always Pakistan would go into Asia Cup as the best bowling side with Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan opening the attack. The two have the arsenal to destroy the best batting side with their pace and swing which they can extract on any surface. Youngster Mohammad Nawaz bowled well during the recent tour of Zimbabwe and he is expected to make the most out of these conditions. If these three find active support from Sohaib Malik and others the team would do well in the tournament.
Pakistan’s greatest weakness and one that has been a perennial problem is their inconstancy. They always go into a tournament as a dark horse which can impress its fans in a game and make them cry in the next. Youngster Asif Ali has shown some signs of nerves in middle order and has often thrown away his wicket. In fact the batting order depends heavily on its Top 3 to score big for the side. The inexperience can often prove costly in important games if there is a batting collapse. This is something that would worry Sarfaraz Ahmed the most. Their fielding has also been found to be sloppy at times.
Talking about the bowling Pakistan has struggled to find a good fourth and fifth bowler for quite some time now. Hasan Ali is inconsistent and same is the case with other bowlers who are expected to contain opponents during the crucial middle overs of a game. They often undo all the hard work that has been put in by their opening by leaking runs. They would have to work on these areas if they wish to win the tournament.
Pakistan is one of the stronger sides in the tournament and is likely to give their opponents especially Indians a run for their money. The team is expected to make it to the finals of this tournament.
Read our betting guide for the Asia Cup 2018 before you start betting.