Pakistan captain Babar Azam lamented Matthew Wade's dropped catch in the penultimate over of the match. He termed that the 'turning point' after his team lost the 2021 T20 World Cup semi-final to Australia in Dubai on Thursday.
Australia needed 20 off ten balls when Hasan Ali fumbled a chance in the deep midwicket, and the ball slipped off his palms. Australia ran for two, and then hit a hat-trick of sixes to seal victory, leaving Pakistan shellshocked.
No team has won batting first in Dubai in the night matches of this tournament. But Babar Azam pointed out that Pakistan got the score they targeted after losing the toss. He said:
“I thought we got the score we wanted. We started well with the ball, but then we gave them chances in the back end. And the good sides make you pay, and it becomes difficult to come back."
“That dropped catch (by Hasan Ali) was the turning point. Had we taken it, the scenario would have changed, as a new batter would have come in. As a fielder, one needs to be on toes and ready to seize such opportunities,” said Babar Azam in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Fifties from Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman powered Pakistan to 176. That was the highest score in the tournament in Dubai before Australia overhauled it with an over to spare.
Pakistan, who were unbeaten in the group stage, have now lost two T20 World Cup semi-finals to Australia. In 2010, they endured heartbreak, courtesy of Michael Hussey's exploits.
Australia will now face their Trans-Tasman rivals, New Zealand, in the tournament final in Dubai on Sunday. Neither side has won the tournament before.
Pakistan's overall performance satisfies me: Babar Azam
Babar Azam reflected on Pakistan's impressive T20 World Cup campaign. He expressed his satisfaction about it, despite his team not crossing the semi-final hurdle.
“The way we prepared, gelled and played as a unit in the entire tournament satisfies me as a captain. I hope we continue to learn from our mistakes and keep getting better.
“When you play so well throughout, there were small mistakes that cost us the match in the end. We will draw a lot of confidence from our show in such a big tournament and take it forward. The players executed their assigned roles very well,” added Babar Azam before thanking the UAE crowd for their massive support of the Pakistani side.
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On a personal note, Babar Azam, the No.1-ranked T20 batsman, ended the tournament on a high, scoring the most runs. He is the only batter to breach the 300-run mark, finishing with 303 runs at an average of 60.6, striking at 126.3. He slammed an impressive four fifties in the six innings he batted.