Cricket has lots of laws, but also a couple of general rules. One rule is that Pakistan will generally defy expectations – whether high or low. Another is that South Africa will generally contrive a way of exiting world tournaments when everything seemed to be going swimmingly for them.
South Africa lost to the Netherlands today and failed to qualify for the T20 World Cup semi finals when no-one had really even been considering that a possibility.
But really, it was always on the cards. As soon as Pakistan lost their first two matches, their odds of finishing in the top two were massively slim. And everyone knows what that means. It means advantage Pakistan.
South Africa should have been aware of this. They should have seen the danger immediately. Maybe they did. Maybe they realised that Pakistan’s woeful start most likely meant they themselves would have to endure a crucial final group stage fixture against the Netherlands.
Remember Stuart Broad’s final over when the Netherlands beat England in 2009? The Netherlands are a side who can definitely serve up an entertainingly humiliating defeat to a higher profile side in a T20 World Cup.
Perhaps South Africa saw this scenario early. Perhaps they’ve been dwelling on it, chewing it over, building it up in their heads. Maybe they thought about their reputation and how defeat here would add a further sheen to it. That probably didn’t help.
Pakistan, meanwhile, are flying. High on life and blessed with unstoppable momentum, victory in this tournament is surely now a complete impossibility.
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