Ashraf Ali Siddiqui regrets the defeat suffered by Pakistani cricket team
Disappointed Pakistan, the Pakistani cricket team unexpectedly came very close to winning the T-20 World Cup but ultimately lost in the final match against England in Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. Many circles are blaming the untimely injury of Shaheen Afridi though it does not justify the determination of the English cricket team in a low-scoring cricket match. After a substandard batting effort but a superb bowling comeback, the Pakistani side had made a match of it before an untimely injury to star pacer Shaheen Afridi a ball into the 16th over forced Babar Azam to turn to part-timer Iftikhar Ahmed who was swiftly dispatched for a pair of boundaries by Ben Stokes and the match, from that point on, was as good as over. Earlier, Pakistan pacers led by Shaheen and Haris Rauf did a remarkable job of keeping their team in the hunt despite just 137 to defend.
Both teams were looking for a second T20 title after Pakistan’s success in 2009 and England’s a year later. England, who were again without injured batsman Dawid Malan and pace bowler Mark Wood, won the toss and sent Pakistan into bat. Pakistan, who powered past New Zealand by seven wickets to make the final, managed just 39-1 off the six-over power-play where only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle. Cricket is a tricky game and this limited over format has made it trickier and it is certainly not easy to negotiate. Pakistani cricket is required to put plenty of effort into this mode of game to remove their deficiencies as it has become very apparent that they have not come to grip with its intricacies.
Pakistan can draw inspiration from the way they bounced back after suffering last-ball defeats to India and Zimbabwe in their opening two matches. In reaching the final, they showed that Pakistan remains a force to be reckoned with in world cricket. In fact, this should spur them on to greater success. This should be a springboard to improve in other formats of the game — in particular, the 50-over format with the ODI World Cup set to be held in almost a year’s time. The need for re-orientation and overhaul is the order of the day as demands of the game are consistently evolving and are required to be fully understood and properly practiced. TW