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Pakistan finds itself in yet another undesirable scenario. Following the humiliating defeat to Zimbabwe, Pakistan is now stuck in a rather tricky situation. Zimbabwe defeated Pakistan by one run in a final ball thriller of a match at Perth on Thursday. With this, Zimbabwe registered their first win in the Super 12 stage at the T20 World Cup. The defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe proved to be fatal to the Pakistanis, as they now essentially have one foot out the exit from the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. This was Pakistan’s second consecutive defeat in the group stage, as they lost their opening match against their arch rivals, India, in yet another nail biting match. Now there is a common question in everyone’s mind – Can Pakistan qualify for the World Cup Semi Finals?
After losing the toss, Pakistan was sent to bowl first. Bowlers Mohammad Wasim (who returned with figures 4/24) and Shadab Khan (3/23) delivered with the ball, restricting Zimbabwe to a below par score of 130/8. The stage was set for Pakistan to cruise to a comfortable victory. However, it seemed faith had other plans. They faltered right from the start. At one stage, they were 36 for three. However, momentary relief was provided by Shan Masood (44) and Shadab Khan (17), giving the Pakistani fans much required hope. However, this was short lived as they soon were reduced to 94 for six. Their chase effort can be summarized as underwhelming.
Mohammad Nawaz came chipped in with a surprise 22, which gave them hope of pulling off a win. But this was not to be, as he was dismissed off the penultimate delivery of the match. Following this, Shaheen Shah Afridi came to the crease (1) but was run-out off the last ball as Zimbabwe pulled off a fabulous win.
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Former Pakistani players did not take this loss kindly. They were very vocal in voicing their opinions.
Former pacer, Shoaib Akhtar did not mince his words. On a video uploaded on his YouTube channel, he said that he was so furious that he might say something inappropriate; and that he had long believed that his team would return home sooner than expected. Given their inability to consistently win games, he had little faith in his team’s success in this World Cup.
Former Test opener Mohsin Khan was quoted saying
“Is this where our cricket has come to? We can’t score 130 runs against a low ranked team like Zimbabwe. If this is our batting quality then God help our cricket. Zimbabwe bowlers were disciplined and persistent and it was clear they wanted to win this match more than us.“
Legendary batsman Javed Miandad also voiced his opinion:
“This is what happens when you allow a non-performing batter to remain in the team and keep deserving players out.”
“I have said it before that international cricket is not a place for learning and unfortunately every time the team has done badly we have tried to sweep it under the carpet by saying they are learning. Seeing the way some of our batters threw their wickets away was shameful because they are professional cricketers.”
Former captain and opener, Salman Butt, also slammed the team’s performance and raised questions on Babar Azam’s ability as a captain.
“These players were not just equipped to play well in Australia and once Muhammad Rizwan and Babar Azam didn’t get going the writing was on the wall for us,”
“I have been saying all along you don’t make someone a captain so that he can learn while playing and leading the national team. You only appoint someone as captain when you know he has the required leadership qualities to lead the other players well.”
Can Pakistan still qualify for the T20 World Cup Semi Finals?
After their loss to Zimbabwe, Pakistan now is placed at the bottom of the points table of Group 2, with 0 points and a net run rate of -0.050.
So in order to stand a chance to qualify, they must win the remainder of their matches; that also by a huge margin. This is to ensure that they have a healthy run rate.
Next, they must hope that the results of the other matches go in their favor; that means South Africa losing to India as well as against Pakistan,
Also, Zimbabwe must lose two out of three of their remaining matches, which they have against India, Netherlands and Bangladesh.
And finally, they must hope that Bangladesh loses another game.
Provided all these conditions are fulfilled, only then does Pakistan stand a chance for qualifying into the semis.
The remaining fixtures in Group 2, Super 12 stage are as follows:
- October 30 — Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Netherlands vs Pakistan and India vs South Africa
- November 2 — Zimbabwe vs Netherlands and India vs Bangladesh
- November 3 — Pakistan vs South Africa
- November 6 — South Africa vs Netherlands, Pakistan vs Bangladesh and India vs Zimbabwe