Twenty20 World Cup 2010 May 8, 2010

Weak Pakistan face exit


Salman Butt's development as a Twenty20 player is a gain for Pakistan © AFP

It was a thrilling end. A game that Pakistan had won in the field was lost with the bat. Despite the defeat, Salman Butt has become an unlikely hero in T20. Nobody doubted his credentials in Test matches or 50-overs cricket, but it was hard to consider him an influential player in this format.

Other than Butt's development, Pakistan have gained little from this tournament. Today's performance was gutsy in the field and gave false hope of a revival. Shahid Afridi was a leader transformed and his bowlers responded. Yet the run chase that should have been a stroll was turned into an uncertain dash by an experienced batting line up. New Zealand put in a spirited bowling performance but the match was lost in the heads of Pakistan's batsmen.

Pakistan can still scrape through if other results go their way but it seems highly improbable. Twenty20 is always something of a lottery but Pakistan's batsmen, in particular, have struggled consistently against the better teams.

Ultimately, though, the cricket board has left this squad short of a power hitter at the top of the order, an experienced middle order batsman, and an adequate replacement for Umar Gul. Afridi and Waqar Younis have been working with a weak hand dealt them by their own cricket board. It is too early to judge this leadership combination but we have had plenty of time to judge the clowns who rule over them.

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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here