Did Pakistan Lose Deliberately To India? Knives Are Out After Another Defeat Against Arch-Rivals

OB Bureau

Mumbai: Another India-Pakistan blockbuster clash in ICC World Cup, another defeat for the men in green.

Any loss against India is like a national calamity for Pakistanis, and vice-versa. But Sunday’s 6-run defeat was especially shocking as Babar Azam’s men gifted the match to Team India from a very strong position.

The fast bowlers, led by young Naseem Shah, did extremely well to dismiss India for a paltry 119 in the crucial Group A fixture of the ICC T20 World Cup in New York.

Though the pitch at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium was not a batting paradise, India were least 15-20 runs short of a good total.

Chasing a run a ball, Pakistan looked to be well in control at 72/2 after 12 overs – requiring 48 runs in 48 balls with 8 wickets in hand.

However, Pakistan imploded thereafter and could manage 113/7 in 20 overs to lose by 6 runs.

It was their seventh defeat at the hands of India in eight T20 World Cup encounters, while in the ODI World Cup head-to-head record, Pakistan haven’t won even one of the eight clashes.

India’s improbable win on Sunday shocked fans and cricket pundits alike.

Nasty questions are being asked about a team which has a history in match-fixing and spot-fixing.

Former skipper Salim Malik, who was himself banned for match-fixing charges, accused Imad Wasim of deliberately wasting balls in making 15 off 23 balls.

“You look at his (Wasim) innings and it appears as if he was wasting balls not scoring runs and making things difficult in the run chase,” Malik said on 24 News channel.

Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar was equally scathing in his post-match observation.

“Very disappointing… Sadly, we didn’t apply our brains,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.

“A lot of things are questionable, their intent, the application… it’s really sad for the team. Pakistan should have won this game. They were pretty much in the game, requiring 46 runs in 47 balls when Fakhar (Zaman) was there. We had 7 wickets in hand but we couldn’t do it. I’m speechless and hurt, that’s about it,” he remarked.

Shahid Afridi, another former captain, is of the opinion that all is not well in the Pakistan dressing room and some players have issues with skipper Babar.

“A captain should bring everyone together.. either he spoils the team environment or builds the team. Let this World Cup finish, I will speak openly,” said Afridi, who happens to be leading pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s father-in-law.

Shaheen Shah was appointed captain replacing Babar, but the latter was reinstated after a few games.

Pakistan, who suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of rookies USA in their opening match, are staring at exit from the group stage itself.

Even if they win their last 2 Group A games against Ireland and Canada, Pakistan’s fate won’t be in their own hands.

Only two teams from each group will advance to the Super Eight stage.

OB Bureau

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