T20 World Cup 2022: It could have been different if Shaheen had bowled that over - Babar Azam
Pakistan suffered a five-wicket defeat against England in the final match of the T20 World Cup 2022 on Sunday. According to Pakistan's skipper Babar there was a possibility of a different result if pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi had not gotten injured during the game.
Afridi had injured his knee while taking a catch of Harry Brooks. He was brought into the attack in the 16th over but he could bowl only one ball and Iftikhar Ahmed had to complete that over. As a result, the bowling balance was affected.
Ben Stokes hammered Ahmed with a six and a four, as the pressure created by Pakistan eased after that.
"Maybe if Shaheen could have bowled that over, things would have been different. And since there were two left-handers (Stokes and Moeen Ali) and I thought of bowling an off-spinner," Babar reasoned.
"Since we did not build a partnership, we went on the back foot. England bowlers were brilliant but that's not an excuse. We played according to the situation but the pressure was on us till 20th over. Had Shaheen been there, it could have been different."
Pakistan's middle order didn't perform to its potential and they paid the price for scoring only 137/8, which was at least 20 runs short of a par score at the MCG.
However, the skipper thought otherwise.
"I wouldn't blame the middle order for our defeat. We win and lose as a team. After we were 85 (84) in 11 overs, we should have at least scored 150. But that is the beauty of cricket. Every day isn't the same," the Pakistan skipper said.
The skipper lauded his teammates for their stupendous show at the back end of the tournament.
"Yes, it hurts to lose a final but how we played our last four games (including the final), the boys deserve credit," said Babar.
"We have lost and I can understand that there will be questions raised. But it is too early to predict and we need to discuss a lot of things," he said when asked if some things need to change in their setup.
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