Khan called his winning ‘92 World Cup team, the ‘cornered tigers’. For Babar, the team that came so very close are the ‘true warriors’. And we couldn’t agree more. Pakistan lost the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup today to England after only scoring 137 runs, a low total but one that was not easily defended by the English batters. Pakistani batters may have struggled but our bowlers made even a low total like 137 difficult to score for the English team despite England’s strong batting lineup. It was bad luck for Pakistan in many ways. Not only were we 20 runs short but the way Stokes had nine lives (or more) and Shaheen Afridi’s injury just before his two crucial overs at the end made the loss even more heartbreaking for our Boys in Green who went all-out to win the final at the MCG today.
It was indeed a heartbreaking moment for Pakistanis across the world as we came quite close to lifting the trophy but at the same time, we should celebrate the fact that we reached the final despite all odds and performed brilliantly. Our batting strategy leaves much to be desired, especially when it comes to difficult pitches. On the bowling front, from Haris Rauf to Naseem to Shadab to Shaheen Afridi, our bowlers put in their hearts to win the game. Alas, we couldn’t but our players did all they could.
The way that Pakistan managed to reach the semi-finals when they had been written off clearly shows that our boys have what it takes to be a world-class team. In today’s game, we lost a toss that went in England’s favour. A World Cup final also comes with its pressure but our team did not show any jitters and were ready to defend a small total. Our batters did not perform as well as they could have and hit unnecessary shots to lose wickets when we shouldn’t have. To rely solely on the bowlers without giving them a defendable total may have been a bit much to ask but our bowlers did not disappoint and played splendidly well. They tried their best and got early wickets but luck favoured the English today. Known for playing a clinical game, the English seemed worried when our bowlers hit the right line and length.
England was always going to be a tough team to play against given their performance throughout the tournament. And England did not disappoint. They bowled well and restricted Pakistan to a small total. But we can say that the best team — Pakistan — outperformed in the end. Even then, Babar Azam’s Playing XI has made the entire nation proud for playing almost till the last over. Pakistan cricket united the country in cheering for our cricket team at a time when we need unity the most.