T20 World Cup: Why Babar's Pakistan failed to emulate 1992 heroes

The 1992 team had hugely experienced players like Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram who played decisive roles in the final



Pakistan captain Babar Azam (centre) is embraced by PCB chairman Ramiz Raja after the final. — AFP
Pakistan captain Babar Azam (centre) is embraced by PCB chairman Ramiz Raja after the final. — AFP

By Anis Sajan

Published: Mon 14 Nov 2022, 9:32 PM

Last updated: Mon 14 Nov 2022, 9:33 PM

Everyone knew the T20 World cup final was going to be a clash between England’s fearless batting and Pakistan’s world-class bowling. But both teams forgot this was on the big ground of Melbourne where the square boundaries were big and the wicket was fresh.

Especially the Pakistan team who already had the experience of playing their first match against India when they lost to the genius of Virat Kohli.

The pitch at the ‘G’ was under covers for the last few days because of rain and was always going to be spicy.

Jos Buttler made the right decision by asking Pakistan to bat first. There was a lot of movement for all the English bowlers, especially Sam Curran who bowled back of length or the hard length which was not easy to negotiate on this sort of wicket.

Batting on this ground was not easy as it was at Sydney or Adelaide. Pakistan, who were coming from their last two wins there over Bangladesh and New Zealand, should have realised that after playing one game against India.

Big shots were not the norm as the square boundaries are almost 90 meters on both sides and placing the ball and running hard, converting ones into twos and twos into threes was key.

Yes, you need to maximise the power play but only when the ball is full where you could play your shots.

And Pakistan had done the hard work of negotiating the first few overs well before they lost Mohammad Rizwan.

This is where Babar Azam had to play the anchor role as this pitch demanded the right technique, not slogging, from the batters.

But he was foxed by a googly from Adil Rashid.

Pakistan, who reached 120 in the 16th over, were still looking good for 150 plus total, though.

But they lost their head, playing forgettable shots in the big long boundaries and were caught in the deep and ended up with a below par score of just 137 runs, with just 18 coming in the last four overs.

Pakistan fought back with their fast bowlers and when they had Buttler, they had a chance but Ben Stokes, the crisis man for England, ensured that he would take his side home by playing smart cricket.

Yes, injury to Shaheen Shah Afridi did not help Pakistan but they lost the game because of their batting.

Anything above 150, it would have been tough for England.

Yes, the professional England team deserved to win the final, but Pakistan had their moments. Had they seized them and learnt from their defeat to India, they would have had their hands on the trophy.

With a bit of discipline, Babar's men could have emulated the heroes of the 1992 World Cup team. But that team had hugely experienced players like Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram who played decisive roles against the Graham Gooch-led England team at the MCG in the 1992 final.

The current team lacked players of such class and experience and they paid the price for it.

Anis Sajan is the vice-chairman of the Danube Group


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