Abdullah Shafique‘s six finally broke Pakistan’s long streak of 1168 balls without a powerplay boundary. In the 22nd match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Pakistan played against Afghanistan. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first.
While the opening batsmen were cautious in the initial powerplay overs, Abdullah Shafique changed the game by hitting a six off a delivery from Mujeeb Ur Rahman, sending the ball over long off. This six marked Pakistan’s first powerplay boundary after a challenging gap of 1168 balls.
In a previous match against Australia at the compact Bengaluru stadium during the ODI World Cup 2023, Pakistan had struggled to hit many sixes, especially in comparison to the Australian team. Pakistan had difficulty clearing the boundaries, and notably, they couldn’t manage to hit a single six during the powerplay overs while chasing a target of 368 runs.
Before their match against Afghanistan on October 23, Pakistani opener Imam Ul Haq made a peculiar remark about the lack of sixes, suggesting that their diet might be a factor.
He mentioned, “We need to consume more protein and reduce carbs to be able to hit more sixes.” In response to this comment, Pakistani fans on social media strongly criticized and ridiculed him.
What’s the path for Pakistan to reach the semi-finals?
Pakistan faces a major issue with their poor net run rate, which dropped to -0.456 after the latest match. While they scored over 300 runs, they lost by a significant margin. However, there’s still hope as the battle for the third and fourth positions in the standings is intense.
Only the top two teams have more points than Pakistan. Typically, a team needs six wins (equal to 12 points) to reach the semi-finals, unless weather affects the tournament. Pakistan still has a chance to achieve this by winning four out of their remaining five matches against Afghanistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, New Zealand, and England.
While these are tough games, Pakistan is hopeful that victories over South Africa and England can impact their competitors’ chances of advancing.