T20 World Cup 2024: ‘Upset’ Babar Azam admits mistakes after humiliation in first match

Pakistan captain Babar Azam acknowledged the team’s shortcomings in their first match of the T20 World Cup 2024 which they lost to the USA at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas on Thursday. The match ended in a thrilling Super Over, with the USA winning by five runs. During the Super Over, Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir bowled first, and the USA scored 18-1. The Green Shirts could only manage 13-1. Expressing his thoughts in a post-match presentation, the 29-year-old skipper said, “We failed to capitalise in the first six overs. Back-to-back wickets always put you on the back foot, as a batter you need to step up and build partnerships.” Babar noted that the initial six overs were challenging, but the team managed a comeback. However, the momentum was lost again due to the quick dismissal of wickets. “My partnership with Shadab was promising, but then two wickets fell. And we lost momentum again,” he explained. He emphasised the need for improvement in the middle order and bowling, saying, “Our score was adequate for this pitch, but we need to enhance our bowling.” The captain also highlighted that the bowlers didn’t perform well in the first six overs and stressed the importance of improving for upcoming matches. Addressing the performance of the spinners, Babar remarked, “Our spinners did not take wickets in the middle overs, so these things cost us.” He also acknowledged the USA team’s superior performance in all departments of the game, adding, “All credit to the USA, they played better than us in all three departments.” The match’s conditions were also a talking point. Babar noted, “Little bit of moisture in the pitch, it was also two-paced. As a professional, you need to assess the conditions.” He concluded his talk with a note of hope, expressing the team intended to make a strong comeback in future matches. Earlier, India-born left-arm pacer Netravalkar took a miserly 2-18 as Pakistan scored 159/7. USA innings ended dramatically when Nitish Kumar hit a four off a last-ball full toss from Haris Rauf as the tournament co-hosts, who had beaten Canada in their opening match, finished on 159-3. Pakistan veteran Mohammad Amir was entrusted with the Super Over but bowled several wides, with panic fielding leading to wild overthrows, also helping the United States score 18 runs. Netravalkar bowled a wide with the third ball of his Super Over but with the next delivery, he had Iftikhar Ahmed brilliantly caught low down in the deep by Kumar. With seven needed off the last ball, Shadab Khan was unable to manage the six that would have forced a second Super Over.