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Pakistan's cricket team has now risen to fourth position in the ODI rankings, overtaking archrival India after they dominated the West Indies in the recently-held series.

Besides this bit of positive news, there were other key developments for the national team.

Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam as usual were veritable partners in crime

During the series, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam attained the highest runs with Haq scoring 199 and Azam registering 181 runs. Both batsmen were mainstays during the three-match series.

Furthermore, Babar also reached a unique feat of scoring three consecutive tons on two separate occasions.

The duo also cemented their place in the top-two in the ICC ODI rankings for batters, making it the first time the positions were occupied by Pakistani players.

Flimsy middle-order batting

However, Pakistan's middle-order might be bit of a worry.

During the second match, Pakistan lost Babar’s wicket with the team total at 187-3, after which the score was reduced to 230-7.

Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan collectively were only able to add 46 runs to the score.

If Pakistan want to be a formidable force, they need to work on their middle-order batting as a priority.

Currently Pakistan team is heavily dependent on Babar and Imam’s performance.

And then on Shadab when the chips are down.

However, recently, there were lots of questions about Shadab’s performance in the ODI format, but the live-wire on the field shot back at critics with his performance.

In the third ODI, Pakistan was looking down the barrel when they were restricted to a score of 117-5.

That was when Shadab came to the party scoring 86 runs off 78 balls which helped Pakistan reach 269.

Shadab then proved his worth as an all-rounder when he picked up 4 wickets.

Fakhar Zaman and Hassan Ali’s depleting form raising eyebrows...

Hassan Ali's recent depleting performance form is a concern for the team.

As a note, ideally, he should be given a break from international cricket and sent back to the National Cricket Academy, lest things get worse for the Champions Trophy 2017 hero.

The same can said of the left-handed, hard-hitting batter, Fakhar Zaman, who has been a hit and miss.

In the recently concluded series, Zaman only manage to score 63 runs against a rather mediocre bowling attack.

And then there was Khushdil Shah

In the end, Khushdil Shah came off as an adept finisher for the team. In the first ODI, Khushdil made a quick 41 runs off 23 balls with the help of 4 sixes. Not too shabby at all.

With the team committed to a busy schedule this year - New Zealand and the English squads touring Pakistan, and then the Greenshirts slated to play World T20 in Australia - it would be in their best interest to sort through some of these shortcomings if they want a shot at winning the title.

The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners

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Hussain Afzal

Hussain Afzal is a digital journalist and a Business Recorder staffer

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