THANKS to its rank insipid display against England, the task for Younis Khan-led Pakistan squad against the Netherlands has been spelt out: the margin of victory has to be 25 runs or three overs to spare. One run or one delivery less, and the green shirts would be embarking the plane for home a little less than two weeks earlier than planned. A rather steep fall for a side that had only less than a couple of years ago been within a stroke of the World Twenty20 title. And if that comes to pass, the contribution of its uninspiring skipper (who by the way thinks that he has been asked to lead his nation in a World Cup for the sake of 'fun') in this humiliation would by no means be small. England had come to the encounter after a pasting by the Netherlands, who created an upset of some serious proportion by laying the home side low. Pakistan was expected to rub it in further and make sure of their spot in the Super Eights straightaway. But led without imagination and inspiration, quite surprisingly Pakistan never seemed to remotely possess the verve and passion that has been its hallmark over the years. Or even something that could even fleetingly pass as method or application. Quite a while before Paul Collingwood and his merry mates on the field and in the dugout started celebrating, the result was obvious: only one side could lose this contest, and it was not meant to be the hosts. Put on the mat after the Netherlands fiasco, England reinforced its ranks with two quality players: Kevin Pietersen and Dimitry Mascarenhas. And from somewhere they also found the spirit to reverse the tide. They got their jailbreak, and regardless of what happens today they move on to the Super Eights. But in this they were helped all along by a hapless Younis and his clueless charges. Chasing has never been Pakistan's stronger suit. Yet Younis opted for it. That could be explained away by the forecast of rain. Inexplicable however was the way the attack was planned - if one could call it planning at all - and the men deployed to carry it out. An up and down swing bowler (Yasir Arafat) and a teenaged rookie tearaway (debutant Mohammad Aamer) were handed the new ball. Though Aamer bowled a super first over and accounted for Bopara, both were tonked around the park. In conditions where the wicket had quite demonstrable pace and bounce - obvious from the previous game immediately preceding it where South Africa had run riot against Scotland - Younis had the ideal resources in Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir. The former wasn't part of the eleven while the latter was brought on first change and when he sent the dangerous Luke Wright back to the hut immediately, he was asked to cool his heels in the deep fringes. That when Gul and Tanvir both had proven record in Twenty20 cricket - the first the highest wicket-taker of the previous edition of the Cup, ditto for Tanvir in the first IPL. But such things do not impress Pakistan's think tank - one wonders if it extends beyond Younis, and if it doesn't what exactly is coach Intikhab Alam's role? In the air and on the ground, Pakistan's fielding was pathetic (as many as four catches were dropped), and combined with shoddy bowling the runs leaked ensured that England had a most challenging total on the board. Like most things Sunday evening, Pakistan's chase too lacked a plan. No pinch-hitter up-front, and once the top order (Ahmed Shahzad, Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal) were undone by the bounce and holed out, England were resurgent. With Shoaib Malik and Younis making a heavy weather of scoring at a brisk pace the writing was pretty much on the wall. And now unless they lift themselves big time, Pakistan are faced with the prospect of elimination at the hands of Netherlands. For long known for its unpredictability, the men in green may yet spring a surprise and survive. If for nothing else, for the sake of its fans, bring it on Pakistan.