Pakistan captain Babar Azam acknowledged that Hasan Ali’s drop of Matthew Wade was crucial as Australia made it into the T20 World Cup final.
Mohammed Rizwan (67) led the way before fireworks from Fakhar Zaman (55 not out) guided Pakistan to 176-4 from their 20-over allocation in Thursday’s semi-final.
Australia were then teetering on the brink in response when Glenn Maxwell was dismissed, leaving Aaron Finch’s side 96-5 after 12.2 overs and requiring a further 81 off 46 balls.
However, Wade (41 not out) – who finished with three straight sixes after being dropped by Ali in the penultimate over – and Marcus Stoinis (40 not out) edged Australia to victory to tee up a final with New Zealand.
The result came as somewhat of a surprise given Pakistan coasted through Group 2 with five wins from their five games to set up the semi-final with Australia, who nudged through Group 1 on net run rate.
After the game, Babar pinpointed the missed chance – in which Ali dropped Wade on the deep-midwicket boundary from Shaheen Afridi’s bowling – as the defining moment in a contest of fine margins.
“When you give teams like Australia a chance, they take the match away from you,” Babar said post-match. “If that catch that Hasan Ali dropped had been taken, maybe the result would have been different.
“As a player, you have to be on your toes and avail any opportunity you get. We made a mistake and it cost us the match.”
Pakistan’s dominant performance up until the knockout stages included a historic 10-wicket victory over India and a five-wicket win over New Zealand, who succeeded against England in Wednesday’s semi-final.
Babar pointed to his team’s prior performances as he expressed his pride in Pakistan’s efforts, despite Australia’s lower middle order once again stunning them as they did in the 2010 T20 World Cup semi-final.
“The way we played the tournament and gelled together as a team, I am very satisfied with my team’s efforts as captain,” he continued.
“We’ll try and learn from our mistakes and come back stronger. When you play a big tournament so well, it’s good but you have to perform on the day. You can’t relax in any department.
“We’ll try and continue our efforts; how we performed gave us confidence and we’ll try and build on from that.
“The roles we had defined for everyone, they executed brilliantly, and you saw that from us on the field. The way the crowd supported us was very enjoyable. We always enjoy ourselves here and I’m thankful to the fans back home for supporting us.”