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Pakistan's T20 form: Back where they belong


Photo: ESPNcricinfo Photo: ESPNcricinfo

Lendl Simmons catches a mistimed slog in deep mid-wicket by Umar Gul at Mirpur and Pakistan gets bowled out within 84 runs. Windies won that game as Pakistan bid adieu to the T20 World Cup 2014 from the group stage.  

They faced the same fate again two years later when a certain James Faulkner became too hot to handle for their batting line-up.

But that was never the story before. Pakistan topped group 8, beat New Zealand in the semi-finals and then a brave effort from Misbah-Ul-Haq went in vain when he couldn’t control his nerves to play a super-scoop against arch-rivals India, denying Pakistan the glory of the inaugural World T20. 

But they didn’t leave any margin of error in the next edition. Though they were not that convincing as they were two years ago, they managed to get the job done anyway. 

In the final, they never gave a tad bit of chance to their Asian counterpart Sri Lanka at Lord's. Shahid Afridi trademark celebration coloured the ‘Mecca of Cricket’ as Pakistan lifted the trophy.

They featured in their 3rd consecutive World T20 semi-final in 2010, thanks to a good NRR. They had everything in control and were set for 3rd consecutive final as well, however, failed in front of a gargantuan Michael Hussey innings.

Pakistan were close to playing their third World T20 final as they reached the semi-final once again in the 2014 edition. They lost the tie against an upbeat Sri Lanka. Still many find it hard to figure out how Pakistan did not win that game against the Lankans. 

Every time Pakistan played a World T20, semi-finals were guaranteed. However, that tradition broke in 2014. 

Players like Misbah-Ul-Haq retired, Afridi, Hafeez, Malik, Akmal brothers, Gul, Sohail Tanvir left their peak behind them. A team in transition eventually proved not to be good enough to battle for glory in the next two editions.

Nevertheless, Pakistan seem to be back in their old T20 glory era. In 2021, only Malik and Hafeez remained from that golden era. 

Young talented new breeds like Babar Azam, Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf have taken the mantle. A generation changed, an era changed and Pakistan reverted. 

The current team have already thrashed arch-rivals India which none of their predecessors could in any World Cups. 

New Zealand and Afghanistan gave reasonably good fights in the next games but were no match to the aforementioned crop of players. 

And on Tuesday night, even the bravest effort of Namibian cricket history could not be any match to Pakistan’s might. Such is the domination they are showing this year, the sort of domination they consistently used to show in T20 cricket.

A refurbished  Pakistan side have become the first team to qualify for Semi-finals in ICC World T20 2021. After failing two times, Pakistan really seem to be back where they have always belonged.

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