Pakistan’s victorious journey in the T20 World Cup 2022 was halted by Jos Buttler’s England on Sunday in front of a jam-packed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The men in green suffered a 5-wicket defeat at the hands of England who extended their supremacy in the shortest format of the game as well. England, thus, became the first-ever cricket team to hold both ODI and T20 World Cups simultaneously.
Pakistan fans were hopeful of a repeat of the historic 1992 triumph at this very ground. But instead, their batting resembled more like their 1999 World Cup final effort at the Lord’s. Wrist-spinner Adil Rashid stranglehold over Babar Azam & Co as his loopy flighted leg breaks flummoxed the batters. The total of 137 for 8 Pakistan managed after being asked to bat was never going to be good enough.
Ben Stokes (52*), just like the 2019 ODI World Cup, anchored the chase despite occasional scratchiness and had a calm Moeen Ali (19) as an ideal foil. They chased down the target in 19 overs to regain the title they had won in 2010 in the West Indies.
Following the loss, former spearhead Shoaib Akhtar lauded Pakistan’s effort in the tournament and the spirit with which they made a comeback and reached the finals.
“Pakistan lost the world cup but you guys did a great job. You were standing nowhere but ultimately; you played the finals. Well done Pakistan’s bowling attack. You guys did an exceptional job throughout the tournament. Luck was indeed a factor but they played well and made it to the finals,” said Akhtar in a video.
“Koi baat nahi… Shaheen getting unfit was the turning point of the game but we need not bow down our heads. It’s okay. Ben Stokes got hit for five sixes in 2016 and lost the World Cup for England. But he found redemption in 2022 and won it for his team,” he added.
Shoaib extended his support to Babar & Co, stating that the team shall win the 50-over world cup in India next year.
“I’m standing with you and nothing to worry about. You guys really played well. It’s hurting, I’m disappointed, but it’s fine. We gonna stand by you as a nation. Inshah Allah, India mein World Cup uthayenge (If almighty wills it, we shall lift the World Cup in India),” Shoaib concluded.