Pakistan have a tendency to underestimate less established teams at major tournaments, captain Babar Azam said, adding that his side played well below their standard in a shocking defeat to the United States at the Twenty20 World Cup on Thursday.
The US beat Pakistan in a Super Over in Dallas to achieve one of the biggest upsets in Twenty20 World Cup history and secure their second win of the tournament.
This is not the first time that Pakistan have suffered a defeat to lower-ranked opposition in major tournaments, with the 2009 champions losing to Zimbabwe in the 2022 T20 World Cup and Afghanistan at last year’s 50-overs World Cup.
“Whenever you come into any tournament, you always do the best preparation,” Babar told reporters after the defeat.
“But you can say it’s a kind of mindset, when you come up against a team like this, you relax a little. You take things a little lightly.
“If you don’t execute your plan against any team, then whatever team it is, they will beat you. I believe that we are not up to the mark in executing. We are doing well in preparation, but in the match, we are not executing our plans as a team.”
Babar also lamented his side’s failure to take wickets in the first half of the US innings, with an early 68-run partnership between Mohank Patel and Andries Gous proving vital in the host nation’s chase.
“We are not playing good in all three departments,” Babar said.
“We are better than that in the bowling, we aren’t taking wickets in the first six overs. In the middle overs, if your spinner is not taking wickets then pressure is on us.
“But I think the way they finished the game in the Super Over, credit to the US team.”
Pakistan next face arch rivals India in a blockbuster game in New York tomorrow.
‘Black day’: Pakistan reels from USA T20 World Cup stunner
Cricket fans in Pakistan were hurt and angry on Friday after a stunning T20 World Cup loss to hosts the United States, describing it as a historic rock-bottom for their beloved national sport.
“I am distraught,” said retired banker Raju Jameel, who was close to tears after staying up late to watch the match on big screens in a shopping district in Karachi.
“It’s hurtful and shameful, and there must be a thorough investigation of this defeat.
“There can be no bigger shock for Pakistan cricket than this,” said former international and now cricket analyst Sikander Bakht on Geo TV, the country’s most popular private news channel. “It is like Pakistan beating America at basketball.”
While cricket is a national obsession in Pakistan, it barely registers in the United States, leaving most Americans either bewildered or apathetic over their momentous victory.
Commentators resorted to baseball metaphors to explain the magnitude of the Americans’ achievement to domestic audiences.
But Pakistani fans had hunched over screens of all sizes late into the night, expecting to celebrate an easy win.
Instead, on Friday was a “black day in Pakistan cricket”, according to former batsman Basit Ali, who blamed the loss on poor squad selection by captain Babar Azam.
Poor selection of players“He has been consistently selecting players who are close to him and that has put paid to Pakistan’s chances,” he told AFP.
“I think our cricket has not seen a worst day,” added former Pakistan wicketkeeper and batsman Kamran Akmal.
In one of Islamabad’s marketplaces, 38-year-old Mohamed Amjad Abbasi counted off the decades of Pakistan’s international cricket experience compared to the fledging USA side.
“Our Pakistan team has become weak,” he told AFP. “I don’t enjoy watching matches anymore.
“Their performance is disappointing, the way they play in the end is always humiliating for us.”
Both teams made 159 in their standard 20 overs of the Group A match at Grand Prairie, near Dallas, Texas.
Then competition co-hosts the United States, batting first in a Super Over, made an 18 that featured several wides and runs off panic-stricken overthrows.
Pakistan were unable to match them, and the 7,000-seat converted minor-league baseball park in the Dallas suburbs erupted with celebrations around 1:00am Pakistan time.
“This time it felt like our team was the new one, and USA was a world-class team,” said 54-year-old government employee Dilshad Akhtar in Islamabad.
“It can’t be that we can play this badly.”
So little was the interest in the game in the US that it was not broadcast on TV there. But photos of Pakistan’s fumbling performance were plastered across Friday’s morning papers in the South Asian nation.
“Disastrous start as minnows US edge out Pakistan,” read a headline in the English-language Dawn newspaper, considered the national paper of record.
“Babar Azam’s men have been pinned to the wall at the very start of their campaign,” it said, calling it a “humbling loss”.
“US stun sloppy Pakistan,” said The News International newspaper.
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