Pakistan faced a 21-run defeat against Australia on Friday and thanks to a series of tactical blunders the team was knocked out of the World T20 semi-finals race.
The Express Tribune takes a look at the five reasons that Pakistan missed out on a spot in the ICC World T20 semi-finals.
1. Misreading the pitch
Well, this is where it all started to go downhill for the 2009 World T20 champions. Head coach Waqar Younis and captain Shahid Afridi failed to read the pitch in the match against arch-rivals India at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Instead of including an extra spinner on a rank turner, the team management rested left-arm spinner Imad Wasim and played four genuine fast-bowlers.
The result was an inevitable defeat by five wickets.
3. Defensive field placements
Afridi’s captaincy was in absolute shambles when it came down to fielding positions.
We saw a glimpse of ‘wrong-man-at-the-wrong-place’ during the match against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup with a relatively unfit Sharjeel Khan fielding on the long-on boundary in the death overs.
Meanwhile, in the World T20 match against India, Afridi called right-arm off-spinner Shoaib Malik to bowl against left-handed Yuvraj Singh. Pakistan needed a few wickets to turn the tide in their favour. Malik did manage to get an edge off Yuvraj’s gloves but there was no one to field the catch in the slips.
Then, in the do-or-die match against Australia, Pakistan were on top after managing to pick three early wickets and the Kangaroos were in real trouble at 57-3 in the eighth over.
However, captain Afridi retrieved the close-in fielders too quickly and gave Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell time to rotate the strike, gain their confidence back and finish with a mammoth total of 193.
3. Underutilisation of Malik
Coming into this tournament, captain Shahid Afridi kept talking about how there is a need for team balance in T20Is.
However, in two of four matches played, the Pakistan captain did not use the sixth bowler and persisted with five bowlers who bowled their quota of four overs each.
In the match against New Zealand, the captain along with pacers Muhammad Amir and Mohammad Irfan gave away 127 runs in 12 overs combined. Whereas, in the last match against Australia, Mohammad Sami and Amir gave away 92 runs in eight overs between them. Afridi still failed to try out his sixth bowler.
Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik, who was supposed to be the sixth bowler in the team, managed to bowl only four overs in the whole tournament.
4. Sending Sarfaraz, Malik as finishers? Bad idea
In a post-match talk on ESPNCricinfo, Sri Lankan veteran Mahela Jayawardena said there were few positives that team Pakistan brought into this tournament after the Asia Cup debacle – one of them was the emergence of the a dependable middle-order in Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik.
However, in this tournament, Afridi kept juggling the middle order which left Pakistan consistently in need of a pinch-hitter lower down the order.
5. Captain Fantastic? Not really.
Pakistan T20 captain Afridi, who is about to retire, did not have a world event to remember. With the bat, apart from a scoring 49 in the first match against Bangladesh, the 36-year-old did not manage any significant contribution for his team.
Moreover, his bowling performance also let the fans down.
In the absence of any genuine spinner, the veteran all-rounder was Pakistan’s main lead in the role. However, he went wicket-less in two of four matches and picked only four wickets at an average of nearly 30.
The 2009 World T20 champions were depending on their star man to perform but the Peshawar Zalmi skipper failed to live up to the expectations. On more than one occasion, Afridi also admitted that his performance was not up to the mark. But that never stopped him from doing what he does best, or should we say worst.