Pakistan suffered a shock loss to the USA in their opening match of the 2024 T20 World Cup at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas on Thursday. The sides competed in the second Super Over of this tournament, after the scores finished level at the end of both teams’ innings.

However, the story could have been different for Pakistan if not for a potentially ill-advised decision made by Shaheen Shah Afridi on the last ball of the first innings.

On the final delivery of Pakistan’s batting innings, Shaheen hit the ball to long-on, and the batters completed a single. With the ball already in fielder Nitish Kumar’s hands, Shaheen put his hand up, indicating to partner Haris Rauf that they would not attempt running a second.

With the benefit of hindsight, in a match that finally ended with the scores level, the risk of taking the extra single off the last ball of the innings could have been worth it for Pakistan.

However, even in general, batters in a limited-overs match have nothing to lose by running as much as possible off the final delivery of the innings. Whether they complete the run is a different matter, but the potential loss of a wicket makes no difference in such cases.

In the match, USA captain Monank Patel elected to field, and his bowlers took the first three Pakistani wickets inside six overs. Shadab Khan (40) and Babar Azam (44) then resurrected the innings, which finally saw Pakistan score 159/7.

In reply, the USA lost Steven Taylor early but Andries Gous and captain Monank put on 68 for the second wicket to put them on course for the chase. Pakistan did manage to drag things back later on, and the USA needed a boundary off the last ball from Nitish to level the scores and force a Super Over.

The hosts scored 18 in their six deliveries, helped by seven wides (three wide balls, off which the batters ran four more) from pacer Mohammad Amir. When they came out to bat, Pakistan only managed 13-1 off the bowling of Saurabh Netravalkar to suffer an unexpected defeat.

Watch Shaheen refuse a double off the last ball:

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