posted on 2019-06-06 20:38:12
posted by Sahil Jain
There is something about certain teams that spurs players on. There are players who love playing against particular teams and perform well against them almost every time. Be it aggression, sledging or just any other reason, all players have teams that they love playing against.
And in Mohammad Hafeez’s case, that team is Sri Lanka. Be it with the bat or ball, the all-rounder has stepped up and delivered almost every time.
Mohammad Hafeez is playing his third World Cup, his first since 2011. He had to miss the 2015 edition due to a calf injury. He’s constantly been in and out of the Pakistan side. However, he proved his worth in the last game when he scored a 62-ball 84, which gave Pakistan some much-needed impetus and momentum in the middle overs.
Pakistan would love to see him continue the way he batted against the hosts. Moreover, they next play Sri Lanka, a team Hafeez simply loves playing against. The 38-year-old has aggregated 1322 runs against the island nation in his ODI career so far. In fact, Sri Lanka is the only team against whom he has more than 1000 runs in 50-over cricket. The next best is England – 764 runs.
The off-spinning all-rounder who has been shuffling around the batting order for the last few years has scored four hundreds and six fifties against Sri Lanka. However, Hafeez’s average against them has taken a beating due to a few failures in his last few encounters against them. Since the start of 2017, he’s had three single-digit scores (in five innings) against the Islanders.
However, prior to that phase, the right-hander had a fabulous time against Sri Lanka. In fact, there was a time when he scored three centuries in the span of four innings against them. With the ball, Hafeez also has his best numbers against Sri Lanka. He has picked 33 wickets against them, the most he has against any team. His best figures (4/41) in ODI cricket have also come against Sri Lanka.
One of the reasons Hafeez has done well against Sri Lanka has been his ability to play spin well. Sri Lanka have historically been a team to throw a lot of spin and hence, the all-rounder has found success. However, he may face a lot of pace this time around. However, he showed against England that he can play the quicker men equally well.