'Let’s be honest, 120 was an easily chaseable target' - Shahid Afridi believes Pakistan missed out on a huge opportunity to beat India

India beat Pakistan by six runs in the T20 World Cup 2024 game on Sunday, June 9, in New York.

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Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi. (Source - Twitter/X)

The former Pakistan legend and one of the brand ambassadors of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024 believes that the Green Shirts have missed a golden opportunity to break their losing streak against Team India after having dominated the game for most of the time on Sunday, June 9, in New York. Notably after pacer Jasprit Bumrah's bowling brilliance, Arshdeep Singh ensured that Pakistan missed on finishing the game by a whisker on what turned out to be a last-over thriller.

"Let’s be honest: 120 was an easily chaseable target. No team has ever defended a lower total at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Pakistan’s bowling was disciplined and they managed to restrict what is the best batting line-up in the world to just 119," Afridi wrote in his column for the ICC.

Post-match, Rohit Sharma admitted that India didn’t bat well enough and the early wickets of the skipper and Virat Kohli brought the game to life. They are the backbone of the team and removing them cheaply gave Pakistan plenty of momentum. There has been a lot of talk about the drop-in pitch in New York and the surface was a little slow compared to the batting-friendly pitches we have become accustomed to in T20 cricket.

But the pitch should never be used as an excuse and neither captain did so - they know that top-level professionals should know how to adjust to any conditions. Pakistan’s bowlers did very well and at the halfway stage, I believed India’s batters were 35 to 40 runs short of where they wanted to be.

"In my experience, international cricket and especially the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is all about handling pressure. On the big days, you have to have nerves of steel until you make it through. India stayed positive and calm until the last ball and the pressure of the run chase was not handled well by Babar Azam’s side," the former world champion further mentioned.

Also Read: 'Why do we have to do this? Enough is enough' - Wasim Akram slams Pakistan team after India loss in T20 World Cup 2024

The key difference between the two teams was India’s consistency, self-belief, discipline and attitude on the field. The Pakistan batting line-up simply isn’t clicking and what we saw was a weak display of power hitting. For several reasons, this game wasn’t about playing aggressively. But strategy and smart cricket were required to get the run chase over the line, and those qualities are exactly what Pakistan lacked.

Now is the time for Gary Kirsten and Babar Azam to make some changes: Shahid Afridi

India have now won seven of their eight matches against Pakistan at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and Pakistan fans are highly disappointed. First, Pakistan lost to hosts USA in a close game and now they have lost to India when they had only a small total to chase. The next match is against Canada at Nassau County International Stadium tomorrow and it goes without saying that this is a must-win game.

Also Read: Wasim Akram lashes out on Pakistan after loss against India

I think now is the time for Gary Kirsten and Babar Azam to make some changes. I would like to see Salman Ali Agha come into the side in place of Usman Khan and Abrar Ahmed to come in for Shadab Khan. Most of all, I believe Fakhar Zaman should be promoted to open the innings alongside Mohammad Rizwan, with Babar dropping down to number three. There are some tough conversations and choices to come but we need to remember that there is still hope: Pakistan are not out of the tournament yet.

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