The key to any good collapse is panic, and there can be no panic greater than knowing you are about to lose a match in which you held a 100-run lead. On this site, Jarrod Kimber described the collapse as "going the full Hafeez". The hapless opener had indeed got out to (yet another) loose shot, but he wasn't part of the eventual collapse. Pakistan stabilised before throwing it all away. Both Misbah and Younis Khan fell to good balls on the fifth stump that drew a shot, and Yasir Shah received a very good lifter. The other seven batsmen fell to more ordinary deliveries, almost always playing shots they didn't need to.
This collapse en route to a crushing defeat wasn't quite as wondrous as the others, but did include a charmingly Pakistani brain fade. Seeking to bat out the day in reply to a mammoth first-innings total by England, both Azhar Ali and Younis fell to needless shots. At this point Pakistan decided to send easily the worst batsman of their fragile tail as nightwatchman. Rahat Ali was soon bounced out, and the next morning Shan Masood offered a simple catch to slip. Asad Shafiq then rounded off the slide by playing a truly terrible drive straight to backward point.
This innings unfolded a bit like a shy adult being asked to mind a bratty child. It appears to be a simple task and yet the adult finds himself unable to deal with the brat kicking his shins and calling him names. Pakistan were extremely uncomfortable walking out to score quickly in a match they had dominated until then. Bishoo played the role of the impish prodigy, taking a remarkable eight wickets. No Pakistan batsman was a victim of a good ball: they slogged, dragged on and played against the turn to almost throw away the match.
The annals of cricket history are filled with the romantic exploits of Caribbean fast bowlers bouncing out terrified batsmen, but none of them can quite compare to Holder's heist in Sharjah. Bowling a little quicker than gentle, he managed to bounce out Pakistan's top order, who used leaden feet and wild swishes to help him to his career-best first-class figures (5 for 30). The tail put up more of a fight, but it was undone by a truly marvellous run-out. Mohammad Amir had spent several minutes admiring a shot he thought was going to be a six, and had started to walk towards the non-striker, Wahab Riaz, when he suddenly realised that the ball was live and was being thrown back in. He ran back without his bat in a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make his ground.
Most teams would struggle if sent in to bat on a rain-affected pitch greener than jade. Pakistan's situation was made worse by the fact that their tour games had been washed out, leaving this their first bat of the trip. But like Radiohead after OK Computer, Pakistani batsmen were unwilling to do what was expected of them. After seeing off the dangerous opening pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, they proceeded to collapse to the dibbly-dobbly charms of de Grandhomme, who went on to set a record for the best figures by a New Zealand bowler on debut. Almost none of his deliveries were truly lethal. Sticking to a fourth-to-fifth-stump line, he picked up Babar Azam, Younis and Shafiq thanks to some terrible shots.
The final release in an awe-inspiring collection, Hamilton was the Ozymandias moment of Pakistani collapses - "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair." How many sides can imagine batting out two whole sessions in serenity before losing nine wickets in the last session of the match? As always, Pakistan took it a step further by making this the third time in their history that they lost ten wickets for less than 100 runs after putting together a century-plus opening stand. Indeed, such opening stands seem to be the kiss of death for Pakistan, who were once 101 for 0 before losing all ten wickets to Anil Kumble. The shot selection in Hamilton was ludicrous as only Amir and Wahab fell to decent deliveries. More than the context, it was the concept itself that merited admiration here. Any magician knows that every great trick requires a great distraction, and by batting out 59.5 overs for no wicket, Pakistan unveiled their most magical collapse of the year.