Two matches, two last-ball losses. That’s how Pakistan launched their T20 World Cup campaign.
Finalists in 2007, winners in 2009 and perennial contenders for the T20 crown, Pakistan sealed yet another unexpected tournament comeback by beating Bangladesh by five wickets on Sunday and reaching the last-four where they will take on either New Zealand or England.
It is not the first time that Pakistan have scraped through to the knock-out stages of a tournament like this.
After losing their first 2 matches of this T20 World Cup, Pakistan qualify for the semifinals from group 2.
Pakistan cricket dil mai aati hai, samajh mai nahi
— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) November 6, 2022
Translation: We love Pakistan cricket but can’t understand it.
Both their World Cup wins (50-over format in 1992 and 2009 World T20) came on the back of late surges and other results going their way.
In 1992, Pakistan won just one of their first five games and went on to win the tournament. In 2009, Pakistan lost their first group match as well as the opening Super Eight game but ended up champions.
And here we were today. Clinging on to a fool’s hope https://t.co/MRRZG2gfJU
— Assad (@LeftArmAround) November 6, 2022
Former Pakistan batsman Bazid Khan, who was commentating during today’s match, referenced these two tournaments when he said “stars align again for Pakistan and they’re in the semifinals”.
Fast-bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi produced a match-winning performance of four wickets for 22 runs and echoed the sentiments of Pakistan fans and players who are hoping their team will end the tournament on another high.
“We are very happy. We’ve played great. Now, we are looking forward to the final,” he said after Pakistan’s win.
Only Pakistan. Only Pakistan can go from being on the brink of an embarrassing early exit to becoming the most dangerous team of a #T20WorldCup in the space of 6 days
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) November 6, 2022
Pakistan opened their tournament campaign with a last-ball loss against arch-rivals India and followed it up with another last-ball loss to less fancied Zimbabwe.
By the time Pakistan played their third match, India had won two matches, while South Africa and Bangladesh had won one each.
Dreams had already been crushed by then. There was no hope. Fans had sold their semi-final tickets. Pakistan were down and (almost) out.
Win all 5 ❌
Win the remaining 4 ❌
Win the remaining 3 and hope one team wins all their matches ❌
Win the remaining 3 and pray for a parting of the Nile, demons devouring your opponents, (and 🇳🇱 beating 🇿🇦) ✅✅✅
— Umair Javed (@umairjav) November 6, 2022
The team then played the Netherlands knowing that, despite winning their last three matches, they would have no control over their fate.
A six-wicket win over the Netherlands got them the first two points. They then beat South Africa in a rain-affected match and entered the last day of group matches hanging onto a hope and a prayer that either the Netherlands or Zimbabwe would pull off an upset and hand them an opportunity to progress should they beat Bangladesh.
— Shahnawaz Dahani (@ShahnawazDahani) November 6, 2022
The Netherlands did just that by recording a shock win over South Africa who had seemed destined to reach the last-four.
The gift from the Dutch put Pakistan’s fate back in their own hands and they made sure there was no slip-up this time as they beat Bangladesh with 11 balls to spare.
What an incredible moment for all fans of Pakistan cricket … As a sports fan you live for days like this!
— Nitin Sundar (@knittins) November 6, 2022