The start was so promising. Oo so promising…
With 58 runs needed of 41, Darren Ganga was asked how he sees things panning out. To which he responded that Jamaica Tallawahs’s fortunes depend upon Andre Russell. The all-rounder got 16 off 17. The man on the other end, Asif Ali, ended up 47 of 27 and won his team the match.
Despite such a bright start, the Faisalabad man was able to conjure up just 118 runs in a total of 9 innings at a lowly strike rate of 111. Granted that the Jamaican team was unbalanced. They filled their batting with six hitters. Due to Covid-19, the whole tournament was placed in one country and pitches were not favourable for batting. Even then this was a really poor return for the Islamabad United star.
In the recently concluded T20I series against what practically was an England B side, Mohammad Hafeez’s form would have encouraged the team management. They would be happy with the daring innings on debut by Haider Ali. Yet the problem position of a lower order hitter remains. Iftikhar came in the 2nd T20 and stalled the run rate to some degree. Shoaib Malik has been tried. Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim are set for the role but over a large sample size, we know that they are not ones to hit the 1st ball they face out of the park. Misbah has now carried Khushdil Shah for three T20I series and given him one match. Perhaps he doesn’t trust him.
Like Ross and Rachel, they Asif and Pakistan’s T20 team seem perfect for each other. Yet something doesn’t just work. There is a big hole in that lower middle order. A whole that can be filled by Asif Ali, he can find the consistency of some level. With such a volatile role variance is expected. But it can’t be a single knock in 9 innings. With Islamabad United already out of of the HBLPSL, it seems that unless Asif Ali sets the world alight in the national T20, like Ross and Rachel, he would have to wait for a long time in just hope of something happening, something clicking.