‘Hard lengths were needed but Haris Rauf and pacers bowled 11 slower balls’: Wasim Akram

With the cricketing world in awe of Virat Kohli for hitting Pakistani pacer Haris Rauf for two consecutive sixes off the last two balls of the 19th over in the chase of 160 runs, former Pakistan captain and pacer Wasim Akram has highlighted the mistakes done by Rauf and other Pakistani bowlers in the match. With India requiring 28 runs off the last eight balls, Kohli’s two sixes off the last two balls of Rauf’s fourth over meant that India needed 16 runs to win in the last over. India overhauled Pakistan’s total of 159 in the last over by Mohammad Nawaz after much drama and R Ashwin hitting a boundary off the last ball.

On being asked by the host in Pakistan TV show ‘A Sports’ about the change of pace by Rauf in the 19th over, Akram first joked about his co-panellist and former Pakistani batsman Misbah-ul-Haq almost pulling up his hair. “Absolutley. Misbah was sitting beside me and he was almost pulling up his hair. He knows as a batsman, Shoaib was also sitting there. I know that the earlier balls seemed difficult. If the batsman hits that ball, it would go to the fielder,” said Akram.

Misbah interrupted Akram and explained the fourth ball of Rauf’s over to Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Rauf, who had bowled 11 dot balls in his spell before Kohli’s two sixes, had been bowling back of the length deliveries earlier in his spell. The ball to Pandya was also the same with Rauf bowling a hard length ball angled to Pandya’s body and the Indian batsman managing a mishit towards long-on. “At first, the fourth ball which he bowled, it was fantastic. The ball went at a pace on length and we saw that the bat got stuck and Pandya was almost caught and bowled with the mishit. Overall he bowled well. It can happen to anybody. We need to just learn from these mistakes,” said Misbah.

Later in the show, Akram was quick to point out that the Pakistan pace bowlers buckled under pressure in the overs between 16th and 19 th and tried for slower balls. Kohli and Pandya scored 38 runs in those four overs including three boundaries and two sixes. “Haris had all the experience. But when there was pressure on Pakistan as well India in the 16th over to 19th over, both the fast bowlers went for slower deliveries. Instead of trying back of length to the Indian batsman, which was troubling both of them, they tried 11 slower ones during that period. When you aim to take wickets, you can’t rely too much on slower ones. Both the sixes by Virat Kohli were hit on slower balls,” said Akram.

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