Pakistan's world cup glitch - time to hit the reset button

Pakistan's world cup glitch - time to hit the reset button


It's time heads should roll and a sincere effort undertaken to rebuild the team.

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By Anees-ur-Rehman

The Pakistani cricket fans and the entire nation are struggling to come to terms with a series of disappointing setbacks in the T20 World Cup 2024.

Following the surprising defeat against the USA, Pakistan faced another blow as India secured a ‘shocking’ victory at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

Chasing 120 runs on a tricky New York pitch, the Green Shirts fell short by six runs, registering their second consecutive loss of the tournament.

This defeat extends Pakistan's dismal record against India in the T20 World Cups, making it their seventh loss in nine encounters, with one no result.

The Pakistani bowlers had done their part admirably, limiting India's formidable batting lineup to a modest total of 119 runs. This was the first time India were bowled out by Pakistan in a T20 World Cup match.

Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf impressed with identical figures of 3-21, helping bowl India out cheaply in 19 overs on a slippery pitch following morning rain which delayed the start of the high-octane clash.

Mohammad Amir got two scalps while Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up the wicket of Indian captain Rohit Sharma.

However, it was the batting that failed to rise to the occasion, causing deep disappointment across the nation. Fans were left heartbroken, with tears streaming down the cheeks of some of the ardent cricket lovers and a palpable sense of despair hanging in the air.

The team's inability to chase a low target once again shattered the hopes of millions of supporters. These defeats take a heavy emotional toll, leaving the nation looking for answers and comfort as their T20 World Cup hopes fade away.

Can Pakistan still qualify for Super 8?

Pakistan are currently in the fourth place in Group A and have yet to score any point in the tournament. The three-time finalist has two games left - against Canada and Ireland.

If Pakistan win both of its remaining matches, it will need:

  • One of India or the USA (both with four points) to lose both their remaining games.
  • Canada to lose both its matches.
  • Ireland to win no more than one match.

In this scenario, Pakistan can qualify with four points if they have a better Net Run Rate than those of other teams.

Turning point

Mohammad Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan with 31 runs off 44 balls, hitting one four and one six. He kept Pakistan in the game until he was out at the start of the 15th over, leaving 40 runs needed with six wickets left.

The game shifted in India's favour when Bumrah bowled Rizwan in his third over, leading India's recovery when they were on the brink of defeat. Rizwan paid the price by playing a cross-bat shot on a pitch that had uneven bounce.

Lack of creativity

Although it was a tough pitch to bat on after 10 overs, especially with the ball not coming onto the bat, the Pakistani batsmen did not take the necessary risks to challenge their opponents.

They failed to play innovative shots when needed on such a pitch. They lacked mental toughness to overcome situations like these.

Unlike Rishabh Pant, who took risks and scored 42 runs off 31 balls, Rizwan played it safe and couldn't keep up with the required run rate, putting pressure on the middle order.

Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed added 24 runs off 39 balls with just one boundary. They played too many dot balls and could not rotate the strike which built pressure and the team ultimately lost the game against the arch-rival.

None of Imad, Shadab or Iftikhar tried to be creative. They failed to read the pitch. It was Naseem Shah who finally showed some pluck by scooping Arshdeep Singh in the final over but by then it was too late.

Here one must give credit to the Indian captain who employed his skills and assisted his bowlers and fielders to restrict Pakistan batting.

Question mark over Babar’s captaincy

It’s a bit unfair to put all the blame on captain Babar Azam. He is a great batsman but not the sharpest tool as captain.

In contrast, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma stayed composed and strategic till the very end, effectively using his bowlers according to the situation and securing victory against the Green Shirts.

By repeatedly appointing him as captain, it is widely believed, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is ‘ruining’ Babar's career. Instead of sticking to this arrangement, he should be given the freedom to focus on his batting only, which could yield better results for the team.

Should heads roll?

In light of Pakistan’s disappointing performance in the ongoing world cup, it's time heads should roll and a sincere effort undertaken to rebuild the team.

The PCB should reassess the strategy and make tough decisions to ensure a more competitive and resilient team for the future. The team needs a captain who can inspire and lead by example under pressure.

Following Pakistan's loss to India in the crucial World Cup match, there is a growing demand for the resignation of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Mohsin Naqvi and Chief Selector Wahab Riaz.

The national team's poor performance in the tournament is largely blamed on favouritism and nepotism.

After the embarrassing defeat in New York, frustrated Pakistani fans are expressing their anger on social media, particularly on the platform X, calling for leadership changes and team restructuring.

Reevaluation and rebuilding

The recent failures highlight the need for a comprehensive overhaul within the team. Key areas include leadership, team composition, and player development. Changes should be made not just to personnel but also to the overall approach to the game, including mental toughness and strategic thinking.

Instilling pride above monetary gains

A crucial aspect of this rebuilding process is instilling a sense of pride and national honour in the players. They must understand that representing their country in cricket is about more than financial rewards.

There is a need to inculcate in the players that it's pride, not money which is something to fight for.