Cricket Feature: Are India and Pakistan losing their home-ground advantage?
India and Pakistan are the two strongest subcontinent cricket teams on the planet. The love of cricket here is at such a level that the two most famous cricket leagues are also from these two countries - the Indian Premier League, and the Pakistan Super League
These two cricket leagues have attracted cricketing talents from all over the world to participate. Players from England and Australia have gained tremendous experience playing in this subcontinent. Its effect was visible in yesterday's game, where India and Pakistan lost to Australia and England in their backyard.
In their first T20I against Australia in Mohali, India gave a cracking start with the help of fiery innings from KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, and Hardik Pandya as they posted their first ever total of more than 200 runs in front of Australia.
But this time, Australian players also had a vast familiarity with Indian conditions. They could comfortably beat the target of 209 runs and won the game by four wickets.
Matthew Wade, who played for the IPL 2022 winning team, Gujarat Titans, was very familiar with the strategy that bowlers use here in India and thus capitalized and took his team to win by playing a smoking inning of 45 runs of 21 balls.
A few thousand kilometers away, Pakistan failed to defend their total of 159 against England in Karachi. Mohammad Rizwan continued his streak of attacking performance which helped his team post a total of 158. But of England's 20-man squad, exactly half of their players have played cricket in Pakistan before, thanks to the PSL.
Jos Buttler said, "We have a number of players who have played in the PSL and been here recently as well, and that allayed some concerns. When you know people have been here recently and played… that seems to make things feel okay."
Alex Hales, who plays for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, guided his team comfortably to a strong position with his 53-run innings in 40 balls. In 28 PSL matches, Alex Hales has scored 895 runs.
"He's (Alex Hales) played for a lot of franchises and had great success out here at the PSL," added Jos Buttler.
The rest of the scoring was done by Harry Brooks when Pakistan bowlers could do almost no harm to the England team.
Thus, from the first T20Is of India and Pakistan, it was evident that English and Australian players have seemingly adapted well to the subcontinent conditions in which they once struggled. Not only playing conditions but even the tactical approaches looked to be not surprising the visitors as an effort to defend the total.
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