Pakistan’s batting coach Grant Flower hoped the under-achieving middle-order will come good in Sunday’s must-win World Cup clash against Ireland in Adelaide, saying another failure could prove disastrous.
With both teams on three wins from five matches, the winner will advance to the quarter-finals, while the loser’s fate will likely be decided by run-rates against the West Indies.
Pakistan’s batsmen have crossed 250 just once in the tournament when they hammered 339 for six against the amateurs from the United Arab Emirates at Napier.
Misbah-ul Haq’s team were bowled out for 224 by India, 160 by the West Indies and 222 by South Africa, and were even restricted to 235 for seven by Zimbabwe.
Flower, the former Zimbabwean batsman who joined the Pakistan team management a year ago, said another meagre total could mean the end of the campaign.
“I would like to believe our best is yet to come,” he said. “If we don’t, I don’t think we will go much further in the tournament.
“I do expect the batsmen to deliver. That is what they are there for. They can bat a lot better than they have.”
Pakistan revived their faltering campaign with a stunning 29-run win over South Africa in a rain-effected match in Auckland after the bowlers dismissed the Proteas for 202.
Misbah has been the lone batsman to play consistently, making four half-centuries in the five matches so far.
Flower said he wants the batsmen to show an aggressive intent and is even making them play big shots at training.
“It’s usually a flat wicket at the Adelaide Oval and the side boundaries are smaller than usual, so it does help to get some big shots going,” he said.