After a series of disappointing losses – which included a disastrous Asia Cup – the Pakistani team returned to winning ways in spectacular fashion. The top order, so often the bane of the team, came together and played sensible, composed cricket to put up a formidable total, before the Pakistan Captain, Shahid Afridi, entered the fray to take it from formidable to virtually impossible. Pakistan now sits at the top of the table with a health net run rate of 2.75, while tournament favourites India and in form Bangladesh languish at the bottom with a similarly negative rate. Punditry is proving to be a treacherous task in the World T20, with the first couple of matches contradicting all predictions – cementing the fact that the shortest format of the game is the most unpredictable. While this lends itself to great entertainment, it makes the job of the cricket boards all the more harder, who are caught between fact based decision-making and the mercurial tides of public opinion.

Take the captain for example; he came into the match with a mountain of criticism on his back. The team wasn’t performing well, his own stats had been dismal at best, and the political tinge to his India comments hadn’t helped his cause. His iconic blitz seems to have washed all that away; the critics have gone silent, and the crowd – which was out with torches and pitchforks following the Asia Cup exit – returned in droves for “Lala”. While this is great for the morale of the team, and great for the run in to the India match, the decision-makers back at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) offices must keep their head above the emotion.

One great result does not mean that the problems with Pakistan’s batting lineup have disappeared or that our domestic setup is sufficient in producing quality cricketers. Both are broken, and work should not stop on fixing them on account of one performance. The same goes for Shahid Afridi’s career; everyone knows that on his day the Pakistani captain is capable of producing a match winning show – his record of most man-of-the match in T20s proves that – but the contention is that he doesn’t produce this show often enough to merit a place in the squad – the stats from the past couple of years prove that irrefutably. Pakistan cricket seems to thrive on chaos, willpower and momentum, but the PCB must struggle to instead make it thrive on professionalism, rationality and hard-work.