Despite making a strong comeback to qualify for the finals of the 20-20 World Cup 2022, the Pakistan team were left disappointed following their five-wicket loss at the hands of England on the night of the finals at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.
In a packed stadium, England completely dominated the 2008 20-20 World Champions as first Sam Curran with the ball and later Ben Stokes with the bat completely ruined Pakistan’s winning momentum. Stokes, who helped the Three Lions win their maiden ODI World title in 2019, once again played a decisive role while Sam Curran was smart with his bowling and notched three wickets giving away just 12 runs in his four. Courtesy of his brilliant performance, the 24-year-old was adjudged the Player of the Match and was also chosen as the Player of the Tournament.
However, it was Pakistan who gave England every chance to win the big final. Their errors eventually helped England to get momentum and finally win the prestigious trophy.
Where exactly did Pakistan go wrong?
1. When you play against England, behave like England
England’s strength over the years has been their fearless brand of cricket. India in the semi-finals adopted a strategy to defend themselves and that’s exactly where things went wrong. Now, by the looks of it, Pakistan didn’t learn a bit from that match.
They were shy to take on the English pacers early on and thus, they were under enormous pressure early on. Captain Babar Azam’s 32 off 28 was of no use as he crumbled under pressure. Their defensive mindset led them to a slow start, which eventually helped England to restrict Pakistan to 137 only. In case, they would have changed their strategy and behaved like England and played that fearless brand of cricket, the result could have been different.
2. Middle Order ghosted… Once again!
After a slow start, it was expected that Pakistan will now shift gears. Especially with Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmad and Mohammad Nawaz in the middle. However, it was another poor show from the middle-order batters.
Shan Masood, who’s known to hit big shots scored 38 from 28 deliveries – something that’s not really useful in modern-day T20 cricket. Mohammad Haris on the other hand showed a lot of promise early in the tournament but could manage to score only 8 from 12 balls while Iftikhar Ahmed was dismissed for not after Adil Rashid completely bamboozled the cricketer.
In short, they didn’t turn up once again and that led to a massive problem. All-rounder Shadab Khan’s cameo, in the end, helped them to reach a respective total but definitely, that wasn’t a winning total.
3. Shaheen Shah Afridi – The injury-prone warrior
Shaheen Shah Afridi is by far Pakistan’s best bowler at the moment. After a slow start in the tournament, the speedster picked form and was ruthless in the last few matches. He was Pakistan’s most lethal weapon in the tournament but unfortunately, found himself injured in the main part of the finals.
England were indeed under pressure and Babar Azam wanted to capitalise on that by bringing Shaheen in. However, after bowling just a single ball in his third over, Afridi found himself in trouble and left the field. Iftikhar, who replaced Afridi for the over gave away 13 runs in five deliveries and it completely changed the fate of the match.