Pakistan T20I Captain Babar Azam.
Pakistan T20I Captain Babar Azam. Image Credit: X

Before the high-voltage game of the India-Pakistan encounter during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, set to be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States of America (USA), Pakistan, under the leadership of Babar Azam, will take on the USA at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas.

Even though Pakistan finished as the runners-up of the last season in the 2022 edition, they lost two of their group games against India, back to the individual brilliance of Virat Kohli, while they failed to hold their nerve in a thrilling one-run defeat against Zimbabwe at Perth.

During their game against arch-rival too, Babar Azam and co. were ahead in the 160-run defense but they couldn’t stop the marathon unbeaten knock of 82-runs from Virat Kohli, who almost single handedly, getting little support from Hardik Pandya helped India getting over the line with four wickets in hand.

‘We lost as a team and not due to…’ – Babar Azam

One of Pakistan’s and the world’s most successful T20 players is Babar Azam, who became only the second batter after Virat Kohli to surpass the 4000-run mark in T20Is. The Pakistan captain has smacked 4023 runs in this format of the game in 112 innings at an average of 41.05, and a strike rate of 130.15, with three centuries and 36 fifties.

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: Babar Azam Opens Up On ‘Immense Pressure’ During India-Pakistan Encounters

In a recent podcast with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Babar recalled the semi-final defeat against Australia during the T20 World Cup 2021.

That was a great season for the Green Brigade, who started with their maiden T20 World Cup win over India, and that too came with a 10-wicket win, which boosted their confidence to another level. The Babar Azam led-side won all of their five group games, and that too quite comprehensively.

During the semifinal against the Aussies, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Pakistan batted first and could put up 176/4 in their allotted 20-oers, with the captain struggled for his 39-runs in 34 balls. Wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan too looked to be fighting hard for his 67-runs in 52 balls, at a strike rate of under 130, shouldering on three boundaries and four sixes. It was Fakhar Zaman’s unbeaten 32-ball 55-run knock that helped them to cross the 175-run mark.

Australia, who went on to become the champions in the same season, didn’t start well losing their captain Aaron Finch on a first-ball duck. David Warner cracked an aggressive 49-run knock in 30 balls, while the game got a bit tensed with a superb bowling from Shadab Khan’s figures of 4/26 in four overs.

But it was Matthew Wade, who carried the team over the line with an unbeaten 41-run knock in 17 balls, which included four sixes and a couple of boundaries.

Babar Azam recalls that defeat, but feels that it was their fielding that pushed them to the wrong side of the result.

Also Read: ENG vs PAK 2024: We Didn’t Finish Well – Babar Azam On 2nd T20I Loss In Birmingham

‘I think the semi-final we lost against Australia; we could have won that. In that match, fielding was the reason that made a different impact,’’ Babar Azam expressed during the podcast with the PCB.

The Pakistan captain also empathized on how a few dot balls could have helped them on that evening.

If we had bowled two or three dot balls in the final stages, then the pressure would have got to them. But we lost as a team and not due to an individual,’’ Pakistan captain concluded.

The defending champions of the tournament will begin their campaign on June 06, against USA at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas.