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Babar Azam highlights key reason behind Pakistan's loss

A disappointed Babar Azam pointed to strike bowler Shaheen Afridi's injury during the game as a pivotal turning point that cost Pakistan the T20 World Cup title.
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England needed 41 off 29 balls when Shaheen Afridi walked off the field for a second time due to an injury picked up in the act of catching Harry Brook in the deep.

After having returned to the field in the 15th over, Shaheen still had two overs left and Pakistan were banking on him to keep his 12 balls tight.

However, one ball into his third over, Shaheen pulled up again and had to walk off, greatly disturbing Pakistan's plans.

"Bowlers did a decent in the middle overs but Shaheen's injury cost us," Babar said in the post-match press conference.

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"It could've been a different result [had Shaheen stayed on]. So disappointed."

Shaheen's third over, the 16th of the innings, was completed by off-spinner Itikhar Ahmed with two left-handers in the middle. However, he leaked 13 runs off five balls as England brought the equation down to 28 runs needed off four overs.

"The fight in the bowling was good," Babar stressed when asked to identify which part of the match affected Pakistan the most.

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"Shaheen being there could've made things different," he added. 

The left-arm quick had given Pakistan a terrific start with the ball by dismissing the Player of the Match from the semi-final, Alex Hales, in his very first over. Setting the tone for the innings, Shaheen's spell was followed by Pakistan taking two more wickets in the Powerplay.

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Ben Stokes led England's recovery from there, compiling his maiden T20I fifty to guide England home to another title win.

Asked about Pakistan's tournament, which went from two losses at the start to a remarkable recovery to reach the final, Babar agreed that the early setback was unexpected.

"We weren't expecting to lose the first two. people and us both. But how we've come back, grabbed chances, I'm proud of the team as a captain."

The middle order stepped up, individual performances also helped and showed up.

"I'm happy as a captain," he summed up.


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