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T20 World Cup: Pakistan missed out on a huge opportunity to beat India, says Shahid Afridi

10 Jun, 2024 22:40 IST|Sakshi Post

New York, June 10 (IANS) Former Pakistan captain and brand ambassador of ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 Shahid Afridi has lambasted Babar Azam's team and said it missed out on a huge opportunity to beat arch-rivals India in New York on Sunday.

After bundling out India for 119 on a drop-in pitch that has been under fire for producing low scores, Pakistan were cruising at 80/4 in the 15th over, needing just 39 runs from 30 balls with six wickets in hand.

With Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya fighting back superbly, India restricted Pakistan to 113/7 in 20 overs, winning the match by six runs.

"The key difference between the two teams was India’s consistency, self-belief, discipline, and attitude on the field. The Pakistan batting line-up simply isn’t clicking and what we saw was a weak display of power hitting," Afridi wrote in an exclusive column for ICC.

Afridi said the Pakistan team lacked in strategizing and playing smart cricket.

"For several reasons, this game wasn’t about playing aggressively. But strategy and smart cricket were required to get the run chase over the line, and those qualities are exactly what Pakistan lacked.

"India have now won seven of their eight matches against Pakistan at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and Pakistan fans are highly disappointed," he wrote in his column.

Afridi said it was a chasable title and the Pakistan team missed a good opportunity.

"Let’s be honest: 120 was an easily chaseable target. No team has ever defended a lower total at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Pakistan’s bowling was disciplined and they managed to restrict what is the best batting line-up in the world to just 119."

"Post-match, Rohit Sharma admitted that India didn’t bat well enough and the early wickets of the skipper and Virat Kohli brought the game to life. They are the backbone of the team and removing them cheaply gave Pakistan plenty of momentum," he said.

Afridi said the teams should not blame the drop-in pitch for the result.

"There has been a lot of talk about the drop-in pitch in New York and the surface was a little slow compared to the batting-friendly pitches we have become accustomed to in T20 cricket. But the pitch should never be used as an excuse and neither captain did so - they know that top-level professionals should know how to adjust to any conditions," he said.

Afridi said the Indians showed nerves of steel while Babar Azam's team did not handle pressure well.

"Pakistan’s bowlers did very well and at the halfway stage, I believed India’s batters were 35 to 40 runs short of where they wanted to be. In my experience, international cricket, and especially the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is all about handling pressure.

"On the big days, you have to have nerves of steel until you make it through. India stayed positive and calm until the last ball and the pressure of the run chase was not handled well by Babar Azam’s side," he wrote in his column.

"First, Pakistan lost to hosts USA in a close game and now they have lost to India when they had only a small total to chase. The next match is against Canada at Nassau County International Stadium tomorrow and it goes without saying that this is a must-win game. I think now is the time for Gary Kirsten and Babar Azam to make some changes," said Afridi.

Afridi also suggested some changes in the personnel for Pakistan in their next match. "I would like to see Salman Ali Agha come into the side in place of Usman Khan and Abrar Ahmed to come in for Shadab Khan. Most of all, I believe Fakhar Zaman should be promoted to open the innings alongside Mohammad Rizwan, with Babar dropping down to number three.

"There are some tough conversations and choices to come but we need to remember that there is still hope: Pakistan are not out of the tournament yet," Afridi said in his column.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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