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5 Match-Ups Which Worked Successfully in PSL 8

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With modern technology fast replacing traditional methods, the game of cricket is getting revolutionized. The teams are now relying on data analytics heavily to formulate their game plans by keeping in view the weaknesses and the strengths of the opposition.

The practice has given rise to the term ‘match-up’ which refers to the utilization of a player by one team to target the weakness of a particular player of the opposite side. The PSL franchises are also using the method and where there is always room for doubt, the match-ups have often worked successfully proving to be game-changing moves.

Here are the five successful match-ups of the recently-concluded PSL 8:

1. Babar Azam vs. Rashid Khan

Unlike most of the bowlers, Rashid Khan has been exceptional against Babar Azam. The leg-spinner has trapped the star batter six times in their seven face-offs while the Pakistan skipper is yet to hit the Afghan bowler for a six. Averaging 13.6 with a strike rate of 121.53, Babar Azam has not been the batter he usually is against Rashid Khan.

Facing Lahore Qalandars in the all-important second eliminator of the PSL 8, Peshawar Zalmi’s skipper was once again unable to tackle Rashid’s spinning deliveries as he was trapped in front of the stumps for a 36-ball 42.

2. Babar Azam vs. Shadab Khan

Babar Azam is known to find it difficult in batting against the wrist-spinners as compared to other bowlers having a strike rate of only 120.98. To dismiss Peshawar Zalmi’s skipper in the first eliminator, Shadab Khan himself was the best option.

He has bagged Babar Azam’s wicket thrice in the PSL averaging 34.66. Babar Azam has a strike rate of 114.28 against Shadab Khan in the PSL. He proved to be successful as he sent back the dangerous-looking Babar Azam for 64 off 39 balls.

3. Colin Munro vs. Mohammad Nawaz

Colin Munro, known for his hitting prowess, especially in the middle overs, is not as good against let-arm off-spin bowling as he might be facing off other bowling versions. He averaged 25 against the off-spinners with a strike rate of 129 which is in contrast to his overall record.

Hence, Quetta Gladiators benefitted from their off-spin option Mohammad Nawaz to dismiss Colin Munro right when he was posing a serious threat to their chances in the game with his 29-ball 63.

4. Faheem Ashraf vs. Mohammad Ilyas

When Islamabad United faced Multan Sultans at Pindi Cricket Stadium, the home team’s top order could not give them the required start while chasing a mighty total of 205.

It came down to 18 runs required off the last over. While the required run rate indicated Multan Sultans’ dominance, the ‘data-driven’ Islamabad United were grateful to have Faheem Ashraf on the crease for the final over bowled by Mohammad Ilyas, the pacer.

Faheem Ashraf had a strike rate of 150 against the fast bowlers making him a great option to finish things off in the death overs. Successfully chasing 18 off five balls, Faheem Ashraf stunned everyone except those who had eyes on the match-ups.

5. Babar Azam vs. Mohammad Nawaz

Babar Azam is notorious for falling prey to wrist spinners despite his batting prowess against the pacers, however, the stats show that he is even weaker against left-arm off-spinners with his average falling to 27 and strike rate dropping to 114.

Utilizing the fact, Quetta Gladiator’s Mohammad Nawaz trapped Babar Azam finding his leg before the wicket for only 19 runs off 18 balls at National Stadium, Karachi.

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