Despite admitting Hasan Ali’s reprieve to Matthew Wade in the penultimate over turned out to be the turning point of the match, Pakistan captain Babar Azam backed the pacer to the hilt after the team was knocked out of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup semifinal.
“The turning point of the match was the dropped catch of Matthew Wade. A new batter coming in then, and it would have been a different scenario and maybe a different result,” Babar said after Australia chased down a target of 177 with an over to spare.
“I can’t even think about dropping Hasan Ali. He is my main bowler, and he has won many matches for Pakistan. Players drop catches, but he is a fighter, and I will back him. Everybody doesn’t perform every day. There is a day when one performs. It was just not his day. He is down, and we will lift his mood. People will talk, but we keep playing.”
With 21 runs required off 10 balls, Wade’s attempted slog off Shaheen Afridi ended up in a skier, and Hasan sprinted to his left from deep mid wicket and spilt the catch. Wade hit the next three balls for sixes, including two ludicrous lap shots, to seal the deal in style.
Despite the drop, it was an incredible partnership between Wade and Marcus Stoinis that bailed Australia out. The wicketkeeper who got an opportunity to bat only the second time in this tournament said he did not target Shaheen.
“ We didn’t really target him, to be honest. Marcus Stoinis played terrific innings to be able to get it to a total we started to think could be chaseable toward the end there. I think the way he played freed me up to be able to do what I did at the end there. Obviously, I was hitting a little bit of a longer boundary to him. But we felt like the left-arm, the slow balls would spin into me,” he said.
“We certainly didn’t go into the game targeting. He’s a terrific bowler, and I just got lucky tonight, I suppose.”