India v Pakistan, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 21, 2014

Main course goes cold as Pakistan falter

After Ireland and Netherlands served up a run-fest in what was meant to be an appetiser to the big clash of the day, Pakistan's batsmen failed to get out of second gear in a disappointing defeat to India
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Crowe: Pakistan looked unsettled from the start

It was unfair to expect Pakistan to match what Netherlands did 272km northeast of Shere Bangla National Stadium. But the batting performance that came an hour or so after the six-binge at the Sylhet Stadium was a damp squib even in absolute terms.

Andrew Poynter, Kevin O'Brien, Stephen Myburgh and Tom Cooper concocted the perfect appetizer ahead of an India-Pakistan game, but despite the plethora of stroke-players in both sides, the main course only had six sixes after those 30 big ones in the Ireland-Netherlands game. Boredom seeped into the Mirpur crowd as they went for the Mexican Wave as early as the sixth over of the Pakistan innings.

Pakistan were underwhelming from the start, never threatening India with a spell of batting at any stage. They were restricted to 130 for 7, a below-par total by any standard. They wouldn't have been expected to defend the total too, having defended a total below 130 only once in Twenty20s - against Sri Lanka in Hambantota two years ago.

But the biggest disappointment was their batting as a whole, which was built through four poor clusters. Mohammad Hafeez picked out the Kamran Akmal run-out as the reason for the poor start but Ahmed Shehzad and the captain himself failed to force the issue in the first six overs.

Pakistan made 34 runs in the Powerplay, after which they lost the way further by losing two more wickets and adding just 16 more runs till the 10-over mark. From 50 for 3, Pakistan still had hopes from the remaining batsmen, particularly the pair in the middle - Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik - who were steadying the ship and slightly threatening. But as it happened, the danger was minimal for India.

"You have to set the tone right from the start," Hafeez said. "But unfortunately one run out at the start of the innings and the pitch - the ball was not coming on to the bat and there was some spongy bounce in it. That's the reason we couldn't get that total in the first 10 overs.

"But still I believe that partnership between Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik gave us some hope that we can score 150 on this track. But those three overs after the 15th, we couldn't get the momentum right and we couldn't get that total."

In the three-over period after the 15th, Pakistan added just eight runs and lost two wickets, enough to derail them. Sohaib Maqsood tried a few angles and was briefly successful, hitting two fours and a six, but that was the only six of the innings, and it was never going to be enough in the last few overs.

In the Powerplay overs, Pakistan's average RPO is 6.95, and in the next two slots, from the seventh to the tenth over and from the eleventh to the fifteenth, they usually score at 6.70 and 8.29 per over respectively. They batted below par in those three slots, and finally in the last five, they were 34 for 4, as opposed to the 8.71 they usually get in this time.

Hafeez said the wicket wasn't good enough to have a target in mind, but bemoaned the lack of one big score. Akmal made 33, the highest score in the innings.

"In a match like this, you need one big knock which unfortunately we didn't get this time," Hafeez said. "But still, these conditions - the ball turning - that is more suited to us against Australia and the other teams and our batting must play its role, there is no doubt about that."

As far as the opening match of the Super 10s is concerned, this was below-par. Pakistan, having always had the tag of being one of the favourites in World T20s, have to turn up with a better plan next time.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naseer on March 23, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Hafeez's poor captaincy, over analyzing of match situation his so called professorizm actually cost Pak match, selection of Shoib Malik in playing 11 was anti common sense , the entire team approach was very negative, and demotion of Maqsood in batting order was like promoting Abdul Rahman over Afridi in Asia cup against Bangladesh, how on earth would you promote Malike over Maqsood, who is far more good and dynamic batsman, he has the ability to strike and defend, and he has been in Bangladesh in Asia cup as well, knows conditions better than the flop Malik. The reason that why Pak does not win Against India in WCs is they make drastic mistakes which cause them match generally.

  • android_user on March 22, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    why not fawad alam was picked for middle order strength as he proves in asia cup he was the only was in ind and bangladesh match to be stood at one side I know its t20 but his form shows he can do well in this format as well

  • dummy4fb on March 22, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    I think the management has to be blamed...Shoaib mallik is a liability and am not saying this as a indian but as a cricket lover.. Sad to see Pakistan team like this.. The team which produced great Zaheer Abbas or the wasim akrams or the.miandas or the inzamaam hul Haas in such shambles is a loss to the cricketing fans like me...get Miandad or imran to head the Pakistan cricket and u will see the change

  • Rexton87 on March 22, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    Hafeez is the culprit and selection of Kamran Akmal an Shoiab Malik were the death toll for Pakistan. These players have the worst body language and seems very nervous and edgy and defeated and so it proved. Kamran chose a very poor run to get himself out and Hafeez had the audacity to call Ahmed Shehzad for a run when the fielder was standing over the ball. When Shehzad declined the run for its sheer stupidity Hafeez sent tough glare of resentment to his partner, Pakistan will loose all matches in this tournament and I hope this happens so that everyone come to their senses.

  • dummy4fb on March 22, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    NZ, SL, Aus, Ind in semis Ind vs Aus Final Ind wins T20 WC 2014

  • Saadcricketlover on March 22, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Hafeez, you should blame your self you can't be the next one day captain. You are the one who destroyed the momentum.

  • alipk52 on March 22, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    @Rajendra Nath calm down mate, and take a look at Indian fans comments in previous matches after they lost, in sports, one wins and one lose, but fans of every nation wants their team to be at top, I am really surprised to see your comments especially as Indian fan, lots of bashes, numerous suggestions of players (even some fans wanted Raina to never been selected), and today he has become the hero...wow, so Afridi is our hero although he failed, but he really is our important player, well apart from that, lets get to upcoming games. The lack of one spinner that's Zulfiqar Babar, has really hurted us big time in the last game, selection of Bilawal bhatti and Shoaib Malik is real failure, they still keep giving them chances after chances, this will definitely hurting Pakistan campaign already, and I would be surprised if they advance over group matches.

  • dmqi on March 22, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    I have rarely seen such a stupidity in the selection of a captain and a team for Pak who can have a much netter team and a captain. What is the job of the selection committee? What is the coach doing?

  • naumanhyderi on March 22, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    The result of opening game was inevitable after the warm up game b/w Pak vs SA where Team Pakistan did not last for 20 overs at an average of 4 runs/over. The Pak team selection has included failures like Hafeez, Kamran, Ahmed Shezad & Shoaib Malik. The top 4 should be able to play proper cricketing shots and rotate the strike. If the same team plays the next game the result would not be different. Though I must appreciate that 130 in 20 overs is actually an improvement from 71 in 20 overs. Next performance will be better than this one but Australia is going smash Pakistan out of the ground.

  • majboor on March 22, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    Pakistan is a team Unfit for Playing High Profile Games. They're Alway's Afraid of Playing India.Forget about Opening pair or middle overs. They've never really progressed for Years.Batting is an Art which they have never skilled. Even Teams like Netherland & Ireland can win easily given a chance against pakistan.