Pakistan reached what Babar said was within the team’s target when they posted 282/7 against Afghanistan’s spin-heavy attack.
But, after a strong start against pace from Afghanistan’s opening pair, the middle overs did not go to plan for a Pakistan side that looked devoid of ideas at times.
Even after Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali had removed the two openers to give their team hope, the momentum stayed with Afghanistan as they chased down their target with an over to spare.
And Pakistan’s captain is clear where he believes the game was lost.
“This loss was very hard as a team. The batting and our plan was to total 280-290, and when we achieved that, I think we were not up to the mark in bowling and fielding,” Babar Azam said.
“You have to bowl well and field well. In the middle overs, the spinners didn't bowl as they should have. They didn't put pressure on them. When you bowl well, and you bowl for 3-4 overs, the pressure comes on the other team.
“I congratulate their team for the way they played. They played outstandingly.”
Pakistan followed their batting template of setting a platform through the top four and then accelerating in the death overs.
Babar top-scored with 74 from 92 balls and Abdullah Shafique hit 58 from 75 balls to set the foundations, with Iftikhar Ahmed slamming 40 from 27 to boost the total at the close.
And Babar says that the batters did what they set out to achieve, only ending ten or so runs short.