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India’s Body Language Not The Same After Losing To Pakistan In 2021 T20I World Cup: Mohammed Hafeez

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).

Mohammed Hafeez, the former Pakistan cricketer reckons that India’s body language was not the same after they lost to their arch-rivals in the T20 World Cup clash last year. The recently-retired cricketer opined, from his vast experience, that a loss in an India-Pakistan match in a World Cup dents the confidence of the losing side badly.

Pakistan defeated India for the first time in a World Cup match in any format- either ODIs or T20Is last year in Dubai. Babar Azam’s men hammered the Men in Blue by 10 wickets in the T20 World Cup group stage clash.

Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India's score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India’s score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki

Mohammed Hafeez: India’s Body Language Not The Same After Losing To Pakistan In 2021 T20I World Cup

Pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi ran through Team India’s top-order after he got rid of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in his opening spell. Then he came back to dismiss Virat Kohli, who scored a half-century. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

But in the end, the target of 152 was not enough as Pak openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scored 79*, and 68*, respectively, to win the match for their team by 10 wickets with 13 balls to spare.

Mohammed Hafeez, who was part of Pakistan’s playing XI for the historic match, said: “The ICC usually has India vs Pakistan at the start of a World Cup for better engagement so that the event gets a boom. There is a lot of pressure on both teams and a loss in this match has a very bad impact on the team. After India lost to Pakistan this time, their body language was not the same. That is the amount of pressure players have to bear in an Indo-Pak encounter. And if you fail, things become very difficult.”

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)

Pakistan sent India in to bat after winning the toss and restricted their opponents to 151 for 7. Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed both openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul cheaply to set up the victory. Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam then smashed unbeaten half-centuries. India went down to New Zealand by eight wickets in their next encounter and eventually failed to reach the knockouts of the T20 World Cup, while Pakistan lost in the semis to eventual winners Australia.

Mohammed Hafeez Was About To Retire But Pushed Himself Just To Be Part Of The 2021 T20I World Cup Winning Squad

Ahead of the T20I World Cup, there were reports that Mohammed Hafeez was considering retirement. Admitting he had thoughts of quitting, the 41-year-old veteran all-rounder explained that the desire to be part of a World Cup-winning outfit convinced him to delay retirement.

The all-rounder revealed: “I was about to retire but I was pushing myself just to be part of the World Cup-winning squad. We were right there but unfortunately couldn’t win. It’s not like I retired because we lost the World Cup. I have always played cricket with passion and I thought this was the best time for me to leave. I wanted to make my own decision and set a precedent for coming generations that retirement can be taken happily.”

Mohammed Hafeez Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammed Hafeez Image courtesy of ESPNcricinfo

Mohammed Hafeez announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this month. He represented Pakistan in 392 international matches, scoring 12,780 runs and claiming 253 wickets.

The win against India in the 2021 T20I World Cup was Pakistan’s first win in 13 World Cup matches (seven in the 50 over World Cup and six in the Twenty20 World Cup) dating back to 1992 in Australia. The ICC recently announced that India will take on Pakistan in the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup.

The eighth edition of the marquee event will be played in Australia from October 16 to November 13. All eyes will be on the high-voltage clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at the iconic MCG on October 23.

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