Scotland found out pretty quickly that beating the No. 1 ranked T20I side in the world turned out to be more difficult than beating the No. 1 ranked ODI side in the world. But despite their 48-run loss to Pakistan in the 1st T20I the Scots would take heart from a spunky performance early on in the chase with the bat and in the powerplay with the ball that, for at least 8 overs in both innings, made the game look like a contest.
Pakistan’s 204 – only once in their history have they scored higher than that – never looked like being upstaged though once Scotland had lost their opening wicket. Today (June 13) the hosts take on Pakistan in the second T20I, which will be at the same venue at Edinburgh making it likely that we will see the same template unfold with whoever wins the toss batting first. The death bowling and batting are going to be key if the facts that Pakistan blasted 80 runs off their last 5 overs and Scotland’s Budge and Leask put on 43 in 3.3 are anything to go by.
Where the game could be won [or lost]
If Scotland are looking to add to their repertoire of remarkable victories this year, they will have to find a way to slow down the red hot Pakistan batting that for 5 straight games now has been able to pile up 180+ scores when batting first. And on the batting side, they will have to counter, and possibly conquer, the guile of Shadab Khan. He had figures of 2/25 in his 4 overs yesterday, but more importantly, got the wicket of Calum MacLeod, destroyer-in-chief against England and tipped to be the one Scottish batsman who can lord over legspin.
Pakistan are clearly the superior opponents in this format with a batting line up that goes deep and a great mix of youngsters and veterans [Shoaib Malik had a great outing yesterday] that makes them look sharp. The upshot is that either Scotland will have to pull off some blinders in at least two out of the three departments, or need something like MacLeod’s performance for the ages against England. The stats sadly point against it, and it looks like Pakistan will end their tour on a high.