Misbah-ul-Haq: a Twenty20 specialist

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There’s a difference between being a Twenty20 specialist from county cricket and being an international-standard Twenty20 specialist. If you’re the former, you don’t really qualify for consideration in the latter category. There’s a kind of minimum skill level that’s essential. Ask England.

We mention Misbah-ul-Haq and his handiness for the first time and within a few hours he’s seeing Pakistan home against Australia with a stunning knock of 66 off 42 balls.

Pakistan had fallen to 46-4 after 6.4 overs chasing 165 when Misbah-ul-Haq came to the crease. For some reason Pakistan’s middle order, whoever it may contain, is ever-so-slightly more adept than their top order is incompetent.

In addition to yesterday’s recovery, they’ve come back from 33-3 after 5.5 overs to post 189 against Sri Lanka and 47-4 after 8.5 overs to tie with India on 141.

Wickets are less of an issue in Twenty20 in the sense that it’s fairly unlikely that a side will get bowled out. However, it takes quite an eye to start scoring quickly as soon as you arrive at the crease. It also takes a little of something else to not get flustered as the run-rate rises when your side’s in such a perilous position. Seems like Misbah-ul-Haq’s got the eye as well as the something.

It’s hard to know which statistic is the most useful for Twenty20 batting, but fortunately Misbah-ul-Haq’s top for pretty much all of them. The only batsman with a higher average than his 79 in this tournament is Brendan Taylor (107), but he’s scored fewer runs and at a slower rate.

No-one’s scored more than Misbah-ul-Haq’s tournament total of 158. Mahela Jayawardene has also hit 158 runs, but he’s scored them at a rate of 154.9 runs per hundred balls faced. Misbah-ul-Haq can boast a rate of 159.59 runs per hundred balls and that average of 79 is way above Jayawardene’s 52.66.