They've won 17 out of 26 matches this year
Pakistan’s exceptional record in T20 Internationals this year is the result of a shift of culture and mindset within the national team.
The team won 17 out of 26 matches in 2021 and, according to captain Babar Azam, the success came due to players being given clear roles and their sense of responsibility to deliver.
“The group is keen, it believes in each other and the roles are clear,” said Babar after Pakistan’s 3-0 whitewash of Bangladesh in the T20I series which concluded Monday. “They execute the plans given to them by the management and are taking responsibility,” he added.
#PAKvBAN Not your typical T20 pitches but it made for interesting cricket. Pakistan had to dig deep to win and in the end a 3-0 result is not a bad return at all.— Ramiz Raja (@iramizraja) November 23, 2021
The series saw man-of-the-match performances by three different Pakistan players in as many matches.
Pacer Hassan Ali, who came under fire after a below par show at the T20 World Cup, was the match-winner for Babar taking three wickets in the first game of the series.
Batter Fakhar Zaman played a mature knock of 57 off 51 balls coming in at number three in the second match, while hard-hitting youngster Haider Ali’s 45 off 38 proved crucial in the nail-biting third T20.
– Rizwan and Babar leading the 2021 T20I run charts— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 22, 2021
– Pakistan now have won 8 of their last 9 T20Is
– 8 different Player of the Match winners from those
There is something special happening ✨ pic.twitter.com/fpkjuWkYKt
Opening batter and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan was named the man-of-the-series while there were important performances by all-rounders Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan.
“Rizwan performed well, Khushdil was great in the first match and Haider played an important role in the last match,” said Babar.
The skipper said the Pakistan unit has been well-aware of its weaknesses for a while now and the process of improvement is ongoing.
“Its important to identify the areas where we are struggling and I think for us it was our fielding and our middle order,” he said. “Gradually that is improving because the boys are taking responsibility.”
While match-winning contributions came from everywhere else, Babar struggled to put runs on the board against Bangladesh.
The talismanic batter, who is ranked number one in the ICC T20 Rankings, could only accumulate 27 runs in the three outings in the series.
“I know people expect me to perform but unfortunately that didn’t happen,” said the 27-year-old. “But its cricket and ups and downs can happen.
“I keep working hard and believing in myself. This too helps because its an opportunity to learn,” he added.
Pakistan will now shift their focus towards the two-match Test series against the hosts. The first Test is set to be played from Friday, while the second starts December 4.