Pakistan missed out on a chance to win their second T20 World Cup title after losing a hard fought final to England at the MCG.
Pakistan made England sweat to chase down a target of 138 in the final of the T20 World Cup but it proved to be too small a total to defend in the end. While fast bowlers Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf made it difficult for England to keep their wickets, Ben Stokes kept calm and led his team over the line. England thus became the first team to hold both the ODI and T20I World Cup titles at the same time.
While Pakistan’s performances in the initial stages of the tournament, in which they lost to India and Zimbabwe, drew a lot of criticism, the fight they put in the end seems to have won them plaudits. Among those that slammed them earlier was former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar but he offered words of condolences after Sunday’s loss.
“You have done a great job. You were standing nowhere and still played the final,” said Shoaib in a video he posted on Twitter. “Pakistan bowling has done well throughout the World Cup. There was some luck but Pakistan have played well and deserved to be there. It’s okay. Turning point was Shaheen’s (injury), but it’s fine. From here, we should not let our heads fall,” he said.
Afridi sustained the injury in the 13th over. He returned to bowl the 15th but had to go off the field after bowling the first delivery. Shoaib said that Pakistan can now concentrate on winning the ODI World Cup next year which will be held in India.
“Ben Stokes had conceded sixes in the World Cup and lost the game for England back in 2016 and today, he has got redemption and won it for them. I am standing with you Pakistan, nothing to worry about. I am disappointed and hurt but it’s fine. We will stand by you as a nation, relax. We will win the World Cup in India now,” said Shoaib.