The Cricket World Cup 2023 concluded with a rather dismal showing for Pakistan, as the team failed to qualify for the semi-finals, finishing fifth in the ten-team points table. This underwhelming performance sparked reactions from former cricketing legends Wasim Akram and Shoaib Malik, who expressed their disappointment, particularly in comparison to Afghanistan’s commendable performance in the same event.
Pakistan’s journey in the World Cup was marred by inconsistencies and setbacks, with the team losing five of its nine matches in the league stage. Notably, their defeat against Afghanistan — an eight-wicket loss — was a pivotal moment that significantly contributed to their elimination from the tournament.
Shoaib Malik, in his candid assessment to A Sports, stated, “Afghanistan played better cricket than us.” He further emphasized that if the focus is solely on this World Cup, Afghanistan indeed outperformed Pakistan.
Wasim Akram, a legendary Pakistani pacer, echoed similar sentiments. He noted that the Afghan team appeared stronger and more energetic, while the Pakistani players seemed fatigued, having been involved in continuous cricket prior to the tournament. “Afghanistan cricketers looked better than Pakistan, there is no doubt,” Akram remarked.
Pakistan’s exit was sealed in their last match against England in Kolkata, where they faced a hefty 93-run defeat. Chasing a massive target of 338 runs set by England, Pakistan’s challenge ended in despair, unable to achieve the near-impossible task of scoring the required runs in just 6.4 overs.
England’s innings were bolstered by impressive knocks from Ben Stokes, who scored 84 runs, and Joe Root, who contributed 60 runs. England captain Jos Buttler’s decision to bat first after winning the toss proved to be a strategic move, leading the team to a strong total of 337 for 9 in 50 overs.
On the Pakistani side, Haris Rauf took three wickets, while Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Wasim managed to take two wickets each. However, these efforts were not enough to counter the dominant performance by the English team.
This World Cup journey for Pakistan has been a blend of highs and lows, with moments of brilliance overshadowed by periods of lackluster play. The team’s inability to consistently perform at their best level has been a point of concern, as highlighted by the insights from Akram and Malik. Their observations point towards a need for introspection and strategic adjustments within the Pakistani cricket framework.
As Pakistan reflects on its performance in the World Cup, the lessons learned from this experience could be crucial in shaping the team’s future strategies and preparations. The insights from experienced players like Wasim Akram and Shoaib Malik provide valuable perspectives that could guide the team in addressing its shortcomings and building a stronger, more consistent playing approach in future tournaments.