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Pakistan’s poor performances in World Cups since 1999

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Last Updated on 6 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: Pakistan’s poor performances in ODI World Cups since reaching the final in 1999 | List of Pakistan performances since 1999

Pakistan were officially eliminated from the 2023 World Cup, losing their final match against England by 94 runs. Their only chance of reaching the semi-finals was to bat first and win by a mammoth 287 runs, but that was taken out of their hands when Jos Buttler won the toss and chose to bat.

The defeat put an end to another sub-par ODI World Cup by Pakistan. They entered this tournament with great optimism given the subcontinental conditions, but their inconsistency, poor decision making and indifferent returns from key players marred their campaign.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new for Pakistan. They endured a similar tournament in 2019, where they also had to win their final league game by an improbable margin (316 runs against Bangladesh) to qualify for the semi-finals. In fact, Pakistan, who have had talented squads right throughout the 21st century, have underachieved in ODI World Cups since reaching the final in 1999, often relying on other results to go their way to proceed in the tournament.

Pakistan’s underachievement in ODI World Cups: A look at their performances since 1999

The 1990s was a memorable decade for Pakistan. They won in 1992, reached the quarter-finals in 1996 and made the final in 1999. However, it has been lean pickings since then. Here is a look at how Pakistan have fared in six ODI World Cups since the turn of the century.

2003: Group Stage

Pakistan boasted an attack featuring Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar in 2003. However, the team never got going, with their batting in particular way under par.

Out of six group games, their only two wins came against Namibia and the Netherlands, where they managed just 253/9 and 255/9 respectively against inexperienced attacks. Australia, on the back of Andrew Symonds’ incredible ton, were far too good, as were England courtesy of James Anderson’s memorable spell and India thanks Sachin Tendulkar’s magnificent 98.

Pakistan’s final group game was against Zimbabwe, where they also had to win by a big margin to qualify for the Super Sixes. However, the match ended in a no-result, confirming their elimination. “We played poor cricket throughout the World Cup,” said then captain Waqar Younis to Ian Healy in the post-match presentation. “We don’t deserve to be there.”

Cricket News: Pakistan's poor performances in ODI World Cups since reaching the final in 1999 | List of Pakistan performances since 1999
2003 was one of Pakistan’s worst World Cups

2007: Group Stage

Pakistan were on the wrong end of one of the great World Cup upsets. On the same day where Bangladesh all but knocked India out, Ireland did the same to Inzamam-ul-Haq’s team, pulling off an incredible victory.

Pakistan, who chose to bat, were bundled out for 132 courtesy of excellent Irish bowling and awful batting. Despite a big push with the ball, Pakistan couldn’t defend their paltry total, with Niall O’Brien’s 72 guiding his team to a famous three-wicket victory.

The result knocked Pakistan out after a poor performance first up against West Indies. They ended up winning their final match against Zimbabwe, but their performances, along with the tragic death of coach Bob Woolmer, marked a dark period for Pakistan cricket.

“The way the team has lost is the most disgraceful performance since the World Cup started. The entire nation is shocked,” said Senator Mohammad Enver Baig.

Inzamam-ul-Haq finished his ODI career in the group stage of the 2007 World Cup.

2011: Semi-Finals

Pakistan’s 2011 performance formed much of the optimism before their 2023 campaign. Except for a Kamran Akmal and Ross Taylor-led defeat against New Zealand, Misbah-ul-Haq’s team won all their group games, including ending Australia’s 34-match unbeaten streak in World Cups. They then made a mockery of West Indies in the quarter-final in Mirpur, setting up a major showdown with India in the semi-final.

Much has been made of Saeed Ajmal’s delivery to Sachin Tendulkar that hawkeye deemed was going down the legside. However, the semi-final could have gone differently had Pakistan found their groove in the middle overs. Chasing 261, Pakistan couldn’t get going after a promising start, eventually falling short by 29 runs at Mohali.

Pakistan played well in 2011 but just fell short.

2015: Quarter-Finals

Pakistan’s 2015 campaign began to mirror those of 2003 and 2007 in the early stages. Heavy defeats to India and West Indies put them on the backfoot, before a tight, nervy win over Zimbabwe, where they fell to 155/6, got them off the mark.

Misbah-ul-Haq’s team won their final three group games against UAE, South Africa and Ireland to qualify for the quarter-finals. However, as has often been the case in World Cups, Pakistan’s batting felt it was lacking the necessary impact to go all the way. It happened to be the case against a red-hot Australia side, with Pakistan mustering just 213 in excellent batting conditions at Adelaide.

Rahat Ali’s dropped catch off the back of Wahab Riaz’s magnificent spell to Shane Watson spelt the end of Pakistan’s 2015 campaign that was okay, but nothing more.

Wahab Riaz did his best for Pakistan in 2015.

2019: Group Stage

A horror start to the 2019 World Cup meant Pakistan were playing catch up. They won one of their first four completed matches, with the huge defeat against West Indies (seven wickets, 218 balls to spare) proving very costly along with the washout against Sri Lanka.

In the end, that heavy defeat to the Windies meant Pakistan missed out on net run rate despite winning their last four games. Their inability to put their best cricket together on a regular basis was on show again, putting in under-par performances against Australia and India when it mattered most.

Babar Azam was solid in 2019, but it wasn’t enough for Pakistan to qualify.

2023: Group Stage

Another World Cup, another “what if” for Pakistan. Once again, Pakistan lost consecutive matches (four) to put themselves in serious danger of missing the semi-finals, which they eventually did.

While some Pakistan fans may suggest the umpire’s call against South Africa cost them a semi-final spot, the truth is the team have only themselves to blame. Nine games is a long time, and if you don’t end up qualifying for the final four, you haven’t been good enough.

Pakistan’s three main spinners offered very little by way of wickets or control. Babar Azam did not influence games his status suggests he should. Haris Rauf conceded the most runs by any bowler in a World Cup, and Shaheen Shah Afridi took just three wickets in the powerplay all tournament.

If Pakistan are to make an impact in the 2027 World Cup, they must review their current strategy and ensure they have enough talent coming through in the 50-over format. If not, it will be a similar story in South Africa.

Pakistan had another disappointing campaign in 2023.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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