England vs Pak T20 WC Final

In the last T20I World Cup 12 months ago, Shaun Masood was doing commentary work with ESPNcricinfo. Two months ago, he had never played a T20 for Pakistan.

Nevertheless, immediately after Pakistan’s five-wicket loss to England in the T20 World Cup final, he was the man sent to the MCG press area to praise Pakistan after finishing as their top scorer in the game. A frustrating evening can be felt. After a middle-order flurry, he put on a 25-ball 36-run stand with Shadab Khan, laying the foundation for a big finish, before both fell within six balls and Pakistan’s innings melted away.

Masood held himself and Shadab responsible for the innings turning around. “When Babar and I were batting, we built a very good platform and then lost two wickets,” Masood said. “We got it back with Shadab and myself and then I don’t think we did a good job and I think me and Shadab hold ourselves responsible for not being there.

“There were phases, especially with the bat, where we could have finished the innings well. Personally, I am responsible for that, I thought we were aiming for 170 and seeing that The way the innings ended, maybe we could have used. Stayed with a batsman till the end and got us to 155-160 which looked great on a pitch that did something.”

The pitch continued to “do something,” as Masood put it, right into the second innings. Shaheen Shah Afridi cleaned out Alex Hales in the first over, while Naseem Shah repeatedly bowled sensationally to both left- and right-handers, though fortunately not spelled.

“With the ball, we bowled some really good deliveries, some really good spells, but we probably gave away a few runs too early that we could have done without,” he said. “At the end of that crucial period where we lost Shaheen, we could have done with two overs from him.

“We’re a bit disappointed. We didn’t seal it in the important moments. England were very good in those important moments. I thought they came at us both with the bat and the ball.”

Haris Rauf took 2 wickets for 23 and was particularly intimidating early on, ensuring that Phil Salt and Jos Buttler were out before the Powerplay was out. Pakistan played a central role in the spell that made the low target a hairy one for England, although Rauf lamented the lack of another 15 runs or so to defend.

“We were a few runs short, but as a bowling unit, we stuck to our plans,” Rauf said. “They played well and deserved to win. We were in control of the match until Shaheen’s injury. Ben Stokes was lucky enough to miss the outside edge, but we thought Shaheen not getting out would have made the difference. M Played a lot of cricket in CG and everyone knows that it is difficult to score runs here; the boundaries are big, if we had a total of 150 it would have created more questions for them. But we took it so close. bowled well for.”

A campaign that started with two last-ball defeats ended with a final game defeat for Pakistan. Four wins and three losses isn’t necessarily runner-up form, but Masood pointed out the nature of the wins and losses offered a more insightful picture of Pakistan’s campaign.

“I think we can sum it up with wins and losses. I think the games we’ve won, we’ve won them pretty comfortably. And a good sign is always when you lose, you Close games are lost. So you realize that those things are in your own hands, we lost in all three matches against India, Zimbabwe and even in the final, there were opportunities where we could have finished those games. .

“You make mistakes, not only when you lose, you make mistakes when you win. So I think the team is very good at doing that. That team is very good at holding themselves accountable. We won the Worlds last year. Played a cup semi-final. Lost a close semi-final, played an Asia Cup final and a World Cup final. The next step is to pick up this young team, finish the game, finish the close moments. Just like Babar for this team. With the leadership, the group led by Shadab and Rizwan and this management, I have no doubt that this team will be a constant threat and be among the top teams come the World Cup in the future.”

Masood was key to Pakistan’s charge in the early middle overs, especially when he scored 16 off Liam Livingston’s only over to leave Pakistan in a relatively dominant position at 84 for 2 in 11 overs. This is the journey from a Test match expert and T20 novice to Pakistan’s main hope in the World Cup final.

“Funnily enough, I was watching the last World Cup with ESPNcricinfo doing the commentary,” he said. “Life can change but I think personally there have been a lot of lessons in my life that have allowed me to be freer, enjoy the sport more and be the best version of myself. I do what I do. That’s something I’ll never be satisfied with. Those are the things I want to improve in my game and hopefully I’ll continue to work on them and continue to grow as a player.”

Daniyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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