Pakistan’s dream to repeat the heroics from thirty years back was crushed as England beat the Babar Azam-led side by five wickets in the summit clash of the T20 World Cup 2022. Pakistan lost the plot in the first inning itself as they could only manage to post 137/8 in their 20 overs. Shan Masood (38 off 28) and Babar Azam (32 off 28) were the top contributors with the bat for the Men in Green.
However, the Pakistan pacers tried their best to make a game out of it. Shaheen Afridi started the proceedings and dismissed Alex Hales to give Pakistan an early breakthrough. Haris Rauf also pounced on the opportunity as he dismissed Phil Salt and Jos Buttler. But Harry Brook and Ben Stokes formed a partnership to trouble Pakistan.
Although Brook was dismissed, Stokes carried on and eventually won the game for England. Meanwhile, Pakistan rued not posting a good total and Shaheen Afridi’s late injury. Babar Azam talked about all these things in the post-match presentation. He also revealed the message he gave to his players before the big game.
As the presenter asked Babar about the pre-match talk referring to Imran Khan’s “play like caged tigers” message in the 1992 World Cup, Babar gave a blunt reply saying he just asked the players to stick to their natural game. “I just tried to pass the message that play your natural game. We were 20 runs short, but the way we fought till the last over was unbelievable. Credit to the boys,” said Babar.
Talking about Shaheen’s injury, the Pakistan captain lauded his bowling attack and said that it did affect the team a bit but could not have been avoided. “Our bowling is one of the best attacks in the world. Unfortunately, Shaheen's injury put us off, but that's part of the game,” said Babar.
Notably, the left-arm quick seemingly hurt himself while taking Harry Brook's catch in the run-chase and even as he returned to the field to bowl the 16th over of the innings, Afridi eventually left the field after bowling one delivery.