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Is there any way back for last-over flops Pakistan?

To lose once in the final over might be regarded as a misfortune, to do it twice is careless, but has it cost Pakistan any hope of winning the T20 World Cup?

It has taken just four days for Pakistan optimism to dissolve into despair with their T20 World Cup dreams in tatters after a pair of heartbreaking last-ball losses.

Losing to India in any circumstances is almost unthinkable, but for Pakistan to do so off the final ball was even more soul-destroying.

Then to repeat the feat against Zimbabwe on Thursday, a shock few saw coming, was truly devastating.

It now leaves Pakistan at 25/1 to win the tournament - they had been 15/2 before their first game - and their fate out of their own hands.

No mercy against the Dutch

WhatNetherlands v Pakistan, T20 World Cup
WherePerth Stadium, Perth, Australia
When07:00, Sunday 30th October
How to watchSky Sports Cricket & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsNetherlands 7/1, Pakistan 1/12

Pakistan have been boxed into a corner that they didn't want to be in and they have only one hope of salvation - winning all three of their remaining Group B games, starting with Netherlands in Perth on Sunday.

That might not be enough - they are now dependent on other results - but they can only control their own fortunes, no matter how bleak things look.

And they need to improve massively. They didn't play badly against the Indians and had the match in the bag until Mohamad Nawaz's catastrophic last over and Virat Kohli's fireworks.

But the batting display against Zimbabwe was truly awful. Babar Azam failed again, too many got bogged down and again they capitulated under the pressure, this time failing the relatively easy task of scoring three runs off the last three balls to win the game.

So now there is no room for error, no more timidity. The only other team in the competition without a point to their name are the Dutch, who lost narrowly to Bangladesh and were thrashed by India, and Pakistan cannot let them off the hook.

Permutations for Pakistan

For Pakistan it's quite simple - to emerge somehow from Group B and qualify for the semis they need to win all three games and hope for help from elsewhere.

The problem, of course, is that at the top of the section are India and South Africa, on four and three points respectively and therefore only needing two wins from their final three games to secure a tally that Pakistan cannot catch.

Worse than that, Zimbabwe are also in an incredibly strong position with three points to their name courtesy of Thursday's stunning success on the back of a washout against the South Africans.

Their next two games are against Bangladesh and Netherlands and they will be massively confident of winning both and also guaranteeing they can get to seven points.

Pakistan's hopes of making the last four are slim at best, though for inspiration they can do worse than look back to the 1992 World Cup, the 50-over competition, also staged Down Under.

After five rounds of the eight-game group stage, Pakistan were in eighth place of the nine nations, with only the top four going through.

They needed a miracle and got it, winning their last three group games, getting help from others and they went on to win the tournament. It shows what's possible.

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Something's got to give in Perth

For Pakistan to pull this one out of the fire, however, they need to improve as a batting unit.

They bowled well enough against India and excellently against Zimbabwe, never allowing any of their batters to free their arms.

Zimbabwe only cleared the ropes once in their total of 130-8 and managed another ten boundaries.

The problem is that Pakistan bat like a 50-over team, looking to build innings, and are in danger of getting left behind.

So far Mohammad Rizwan has scored 18 runs off 28 balls, Babar Azam four off 10, Shadab Khan 22 off 20. Those numbers simply don't cut it in top-level international T20 cricket when, if you don't have a strike rate of 130-plus, you are well behind the eight ball.

Clearly it's too late to tear up a year's work, but the mindset has got to change or they are going home early and humiliated.

The Dutch should expect plenty of fireworks from this wounded animal on Sunday.

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