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Brutal Shaheen Afridi moment ruins Pakistan’s chances against England in T20 World Cup final

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Pakistan can take pride in getting to the World Cup final but now their young team must take the next step – learning how to close out tight games, said batsman Shan Masood on Sunday.

Babar Azam’s men pushed England all the way at the Melbourne Cricket Ground but fell to a five-wicket defeat with six balls remaining after setting a below-par 138-run target to win.

Masood top-scored with 38 and said he took responsibility for not staying around longer to put together a bigger total.

“There were stages especially with the bat that we could have finished things off really well,” he said.

“Personally, I take blame for it. We were aiming for 170 and having looked at the way the innings ended, we could have used a batsman staying in and getting us to at least 155-160, which would have been good on that pitch.”

Instead they fell short, leaving it up to their renowned pace attack to blunt England – but in the 13th over that plan was blown up by a brutal moment in the field.

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The hearts of Pakistani fans sunk as strike bowler Shaheen Afridi injured his right knee while catching Harry Brook in the deep.

The 22-year-old limped off the field before returning soon after, having popped a couple of painkillers, but gingerly hobbled back to the sheds one delivery into his second spell.

“We could have done with his two overs at the end,” Masood said. “I hope he is OK. It’s his knee. From what I am hearing all his ligament tests are clear.”

Onlookers knew straight away Pakistan’s chances of victory had been dashed by the setback.

Against a limited bowling attack Ben Stokes’s unbeaten 52 was enough to see his team to a second T20 World Cup triumph following their 2010 victory.

Despite the defeat, Pakistan’s performance in Australia exceeded expectations after they lost their first two matches in the Super 12 to India and Zimbabwe and scraped into the semi-finals courtesy of South Africa’s shock defeat to the Netherlands a week ago.

Masood said the young team had a bright future, but needed to learn how to win the tight moments.

“The games that we won, we won them quite comfortably,” he said. “The good sign is that when we lost, we lost close games. So you realise that these things are in your own hands.

“The three games we lost to India, Zimbabwe and now England there were opportunities where we could have closed out those games.

“I think the next step this young team has to take is finishing games, finishing out close moments.

“But I just feel the way Babar is leading this team, the leadership group in Shadab (Khan) and (Mohammad) Rizwan, I’ve got no doubts that with future World Cups coming this side will be a constant threat and among the top teams.”

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