Pakistan lost to England in the T20 World Cup final, but this was a match worth watching. No, this is not a satire or in sarcasm, I really mean it. I don’t understand why Indians are so happy at England’s victory or Pakistan’s loss in this final. I do think we should give credit where it is due. And the fact is that even though Pakistan lost the game, but their game much better than the English game. It was tough luck for Pakistan today! There was nothing worth noting in the first innings of the game. It was a pretty normal game.
Also read: This is why Rohit Sharma is different!
England won the toss and chose to bowl first. Pakistan with an average batting line up, managed to score a mere total of 137 in twenty overs. It was not that English bowlers were outstanding, it was Pakistan’s batting was like India’s batting, lacking both technique and consistency. Pakistani Batsmen kept giving away their wickets simply trying to slog the ball out of the stadium. Mohammad Rizwan (15 off 14) was the first one to go back to pavilion. He swung the bat to hit a delivery going a feet outside the off stump and got an inside edge and bowled.
Mohammad Haris (8 off 12 ) after a few hard hits; look the ball and hit the ball kind was next in line to return to the pavilion. Caught on mid-on while trying to slog Rashid Ali for a maximum. Rashid Ali also got Babar Azam (32 off 28) caught and bold, this indeed was a brilliant googly bowled, which Babar Azam failed to read. This was the only wicket, that was a result of a wicket taking ball. All others were batsmen making mistakes as if playing club cricket.
Ben Stokes then got rid of Iftikhar Ahmed caught behind on a straight delivery which did not move an inch in or out. But the batsman nicked the ball and keeper didn’t make a mistake. A Golden Duck!!
Shaan Masood (38 off 28) and Shadab Khan (20 off 14) tried building something that might have looked like a partnership but Shaan ended up giving an easy catch on deep mid wicket to initiate a collapse of the Pakistan’s flawed batting line up. Shaan then Shadab then Mohammad Nawaz (5 off 7) then Mohammad Wasim (4 off 8) all returned to pavilion in a few minutes in the similar fashion. Catching Practice for English fielder! It was not the bowling that was doing the trick it was the batsman who had no clue what was happening.
At this point, it looked like it was a one sided match.
However, Pakistan’s bowlers showed an outstanding class. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say Pakistan has the best bowling attack in this tournament.
In the very first over, on the fifth delivery, Alex Hales (1 off 2) was clean bowled by a brilliant in-swinger by Shaheen Shah Afridi. It was a serious wicket taking delivery. It was treat to look at! Left arm over the wicket good length ball pitched in line of the middle stump and swung inwards, hitting the pads and clean bowled. Loved it!! Would have been very difficult for any batsmen to play that one.
Naseem Shah struggled a bit in the beginning. I didn’t know he along with Haris Rauf could bowl 145kph consistently. Haris Rauf got rid of Phil Salt (10 off 9). A slightly short pitched quick delivery (146 kmph) nothing fancy, batsman trying to pull over the mid wicket but mistimed and got caught instead. Pace can do wonders but when it comes to Indians I don’t know why no body wants pacers in the team. “Oh pacers give away runs” is what I hear. Had it been a 130 Kmph, the very same line and length would have been sent to boundary simply because the batsman would have had more time to play the shot. One of the biggest reasons, why India chokes in big tournament, it has always been, it is and it will continue to do so is that it never invests in fast bowlers. Even this time the after match analysis is flawed “Indian players should play more overseas“. This is just a diversion. Pakistan had almost defended 138, India failed to defend 170 and would have failed to defend 200 as England scored 170 in just 16 overs, they would have reached 220 had they played complete 20 overs. India played with no leg spinner, and no pacer who had any abilities to bowl aggressive; aggressive with the ball not with the mouth.
Also read: Everything is not fine with Team India
Anyways coming back to the final. Later Haris Rauf got Jos Buttler (26 off 17) caught behind on another quicker one with some outswing just enough to get an edge. This was a good delivery. English batsmen were struggling playing these bowlers. Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah were bowling lethal delivers, quick and swinging. Naseem was effortlessly bowling dots like it was a child’s play. The batsmen absolutely were getting beaten up on each and every delivery.
Later Shadab got Harry Brook (20 off 23) caught on covers by Afridi where Afridi hurt his knee. And here is where I think Pakistan started losing. Shaheen Shah Afridi had bowled only two overs so far and wasn’t able to bowl his two left overs. This was sad. The captain Babar Azam had to find a bowler who could fill in, but there wasn’t one. Iftikhar bowled five balls and got 13 runs and the team lost all the momentum. Never came back from there! I think the thought “how are they going to make up for Afridi’s two overs” killed the entire confidence. The team lost the game right then, as Afridi walked out of the ground.
Moin Ali (19 off 13 )was clean bowled by Wasim, but Ben stokes finished the game in style. Winning and losing is a part of game, but Pakistan’s bowling was world class and was worth watching.
Pakistan’s bowling figures look like this:
I was getting disappointed about the quality of cricket going on, especially the way Indian Cricket team has been performing. I am not at all talking about if they won or lost, I am talking about the quality of bowling, batting, fielding and captaincy. Indian Cricket team is a mess on all the fronts. And that’s why the games look like gamble; if its our day we win or else we surrender. Indian Cricket team and staff should take a look at how Pakistan is honing their fast bowlers. I hope humiliating defeats like the one against England in Semi-finals would shake the management off its deep sleep.
Also read: Unpredictable Cricket
Thanks for reading!