The lead-up to the World Cup went spotless for England but the worries continue for their visiting nation, Pakistan. The final ODI at Leeds was more of a one-sided affair for the host nation. They comfortably won the fifth match and claimed the series with 4-0. Thanks to Pakistan’s slow starts with both bat and ball in the final fixture as they fell to a 54-run defeat.
England on the other side has been relentless throughout the tournament. Their batting was in the spotlight throughout the tournament. However, the bowling was superb with Woakes’ giving it the best price for money with his 5 for 54 spell. Woakes denied the chase of 351 runs in the first two overs when he took three wickets leaving Pakistan 6 for 3.
After a massive fourth-wicket partnership between Sarfaraz Ahmed and Babar Azam, Pakistan had a brief hope. England’s fielding dashed all the hopes for Pakistan. Rashid’s remarkable run out and a splendid left-handed catch of his own bowling along with Buttler’s stumping of Sarfaraz added to Pakistan’s misery with the best of the lot.
Pakistan’s bowling didn’t perform up to the expectations. And towards the end of the series, their fielding lapses added to their worries ahead of the world cup. They missed the regulation catches with a number of misfields. This has raised questions over their World Cup chances with less than two weeks to go for the showpiece event.
Although Arthur credited the current fielding coach for his work but he did admit that one of the factors for such fielding was due to the addition of the players who didn’t train under Rixon.
“We are putting in a hell lot of an effort in it and there’s not a massive amount of reward there for us at the moment. We will just keep knocking away to make sure that we get it up to the speed because we have a couple of young, new players who weren’t a part of that regime which we equipped to be the best as we can. So we are trying to put things up and bring them up to the speed as quick as we can.
“‘Stumper’ (Rixon) did a great job for us and Grant Bradburn is doing a wonderful job. Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys’ attitude has been outstanding throughout this series and in the years before. They know where they’re short and they are not happy about it.”
Arthur and Inzamam ul Haq are going to have a chat on Monday to finalize the squad for world cup. If the team has to put better performances in future, players have to look into the lapses of this series.