Wasim Akram points out Babar Azam's blunder during South Africa match

Babar Azam should have trusted Usama Mir instead of Mohammad Nawaz for the penultimate over, Wasim Akram says

By Web Desk
October 28, 2023
Wasim Akram (R) stated that Babar Azam (L) shouldn't have given the 48th over to Mohammad Nawaz. — AFP

Former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram opened up on Friday after Pakistan’s fourth consecutive defeat in the ICC World Cup 2023 and pointed out a massive blunder Babar Azam made during the match against South Africa in Chennai.

Wasim, who led Pakistan in the 1996 and 1999 World Cups, argued that giving the 48th over to Mohammad Nawaz when the Proteas just required six off 18 balls with one wicket remaining was a mistake saying that Usama Mir — who came in as a concussion substitute for Shadab Khan — was bowling well and had already taken two wickets.

“When Nawaz got that over, Usama had two overs remaining at that time. He was bowling better as well. He was going to baffle the tailenders with mystery googly or leg spin. Yes, I agree that his first three to four overs were not up to the mark, but he [came back] took two wickets for 45 runs,” Wasim said on a local sports show.

“Other than this, the captaincy was fine. You [Babar Azam] used main bowlers and got the wickets but I couldn’t understand why Nawaz bowled there. He didn’t have the confidence and he was bowling above his shoulder, which means his ball would drift down towards the leg side. I think that was a massive mistake by the captain that you don’t use your main bowler — who was taking wickets.”

Wasim then praised the Pakistani bowlers as he believed that they made a game out of nothing and especially lauded Wasim Jr, who was playing his first World Cup match, saying that he bowled with courage and kept on troubling the Proteas batters.

“In the end, they made a game out of it, Pakistani bowlers. Haris bowled his heart out, it was good to see Wasim making an impact in that game because he has got the talent, we all knew that, he didn’t get a consistent chance but today he did well with pace, troubled the batters as well,” he added.

Earlier, South Africa defeated Pakistan by one wicket after a nail-biter and recorded their fifth win in the tournament, going to the top of the World Cup points table with 10 points and a handsome net run rate (NRR) of 2.032.

That was Pakistan’s fourth consecutive defeat in this mega event — the first time they lost four matches in a single edition of the World Cup.

Pakistan’s chances to qualify for the semi-final of the event have now become a matter of “ifs and buts” because even if the Green Shirts win their remaining three matches — against Bangladesh, New Zealand and England — they would have to rely on other teams' results, which seems nearly impossible.