After a topsy-turvy ICC World Cup 2019 campaign, Pakistan were knocked out of the mega event, with the hopes of a repeat of the 1992 triumph remaining a distant dream once again. Pakistan started the World Cup, in possibly the worst possible manner, with a blow at the hands of the West Indies — a team that failed to register even a single victory in their following seven games they played.
Even though Pakistan won their very next game against tournament favourites and hosts England, subsequent defeats at the hands of Australia and India as well as a washout against Sri Lanka put them on the brink of elimination. With their backs against the wall, the Men in Green staged a comeback in the tournament by winning their next four games but that was not enough to guarantee them a place in the semi-finals of the tournament — due to poor net run rate as compared to New Zealand.
Many argue that instead of New Zealand, Pakistan should have been selected for the last-four stage despite their lower net run rate on the basis of the fact that they got the better of the Kiwis during the league match. But how do you explain Pakistan’s demoralising defeat against the West Indies where the Men in Green did not put up a proper fight? If they had been up for that match, Pakistan could have, at the very least, reduced the margin of defeat and stayed in contention for a semi-final spot.
Also, Pakistan were lucky to escape defeat during their game against South Africa as they dropped six catches. By contrast, they could have easily won their match against Australia if they had adopted a more sensible approach with the bat. That said, it’s fair to say that the Pakistani team is not an under or an overachiever during the event and their performance was in line with the realistic expectations before the beginning of the tournament.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2019.