Pakistan captain Babar Azam in a T20 World Cup 2021 match© AFP
Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s leadership skills were on display throughout the ICC T20 World Cup and he rarely put a foot wrong in his team’s spirited campaign, which ended on Thursday night after Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis batted brilliantly to take Australia to a 5-wicket win in the second semi-final in Dubai. Pakistan dominated most parts of the match but a late blitz from Stoinis and Wade put paid to Babar and his team’s hopes of reaching the summit clash.
Babar and his team were visibly disappointed after the loss but the Pakistan skipper put up a brave front and asked his teammates to stay united in the face of defeat during a heartfelt speech in the dressing room, which was posted by Pakistan Cricket Board on its Instagram handle.
“Babar Azam, Saqlain Mushtaq and Matthew Hayden are proud. Babar Azam, Saqlain Mushtaq and Matthew Hayden are proud of their side despite a five-wicket defeat in #T20WorldCup semi-final,” was the caption for the post.
“First of all, I want to thank everyone from the (team) management. Everyone is pained and is thinking about where we went wrong and where we could have done better. Nobody will tell us this, we all know it. We have to learn from it. This unit of ours should not be broken. No one should point fingers at others. We have to accept that we haven’t played well as a team. There should be no finger pointing. Everyone should look at the positives. We have lost, that is fine. It happens. We will learn from this and not repeat the mistakes in future. I am requesting all of you that this bond of ours should not break. This does not happen overnight and we should maintain this unity and not let one loss bother us.
“As a captain I received great response for the team. It was a great environment, like that of a family. Everyone put in a lot of effort and no one shied away from taking responsibility. This is what is expected from a team. The effort is in our hand and the result isn’t. No one should feel sad or deflated. We should think about where we went wrong and how we can improve.
“These are the times when you should support each other and not pull anyone down. I shouldn’t hear about anyone pulling a teammate down. Learn from this and enjoy. The pain will stay for a while but we have to overcome it. Wish you all the best,” Babar said.
Pakistan had won all their matches in the Super 12 stage and put up a big total of 176 runs after being asked to bat by Aaron Finch, courtesy half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman.
Shaheen Afridi gave Pakistan a great start with the ball by removing Finch early and leg-spinner Shadab Khan picked up four wickets to all but seal the deal for the ‘Men in Green’. But some late hitting from Stoinis kept the Aussies in the game. Hasan Ali dropped a catch of Wade in the closing stages and the wicket-keeper batter made his opponents pay as he hit Afridi for three consecutive sixes in the 19th over to seal the match for the Aussies with an over to spare.
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