‘England would still have won’- Sunil Gavaskar rubbishes claims of Shaheen Afridi’s injury as turning point in final

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Pakistan’s dream of replicating the triumph of the 1992 World Cup concluded in disappointment after Ben Stokes guided England to victory, lifting their second T20 World Cup title at the MCG. Pakistani pacer Shaheen Afridi’s injury proved to be a decisive factor in the contest, however, former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar reckoned that the Men in Green would’ve lost irrespective of the star pacer’s injury.

Afridi limped off the ground after seemingly injuring his right knee while taking a catch to dismiss Harry Brook. He returned to the field after a while and ran in to bowl his third over of the match at a crucial juncture with the game evenly poised. But the left-arm pacer could manage just one delivery and had to walk off the field again, this time for good.

His injury was a killer blow to Pakistan’s chances as a well-set Ben Stokes paced his innings to perfection, guiding his side home comfortably in the end. While several experts and fans believed that Pakistan might have won the game if Shaheen didn’t get injured, former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar feels the outcome of the game would’ve been the same as Pakistan were 15-20 runs short.

“I don’t think so, as they didn’t have enough runs on the board. They were around 15-20 runs short. Had they got to 150-155, they would have had a better chance and their bowlers would have had a bit of a cushion. But I don’t think the 10 deliveries that Shaheen didn’t bowl would have made that much of a difference. Maybe Pakistan would have got another wicket, but England would still have won,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying in India Today.

Shaheen’s injury cost us a different result: Babar Azam

Lamenting on the loss, Pakistani skipper Babar Azam also felt that his side were a few runs short in the first innings. But he believed that Shaheen’s injury was the decisive factor in the game. He commended his team for showing tremendous fighting spirit and pushing England all the way in the grand finale of the showcase event in Melbourne.

“We were 20 runs short but the fight to the last over was unbelievable. Our bowling is one of the best, but unfortunately, Shaheen’s injury cost us a different result, but that’s part of the game,” Babar said in the post-match presentation ceremony.

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