By Niall Anderson in Manchester
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has called for a rule change at the Cricket World Cup after his side were eliminated from the competition.
Needing a historic victory to usurp the Black Caps for the fourth and final semifinal spot, Pakistan beat Bangladesh by 94 runs – not enough of a margin to move ahead of the Black Caps on net run rate.
The two teams ended level on 11 points, and were tied on the first tiebreaker of wins, so the second tiebreaker of net run rate came into play.
There, the Black Caps held a healthy buffer of 0.175 to Pakistan's -0.43, with Pakistan left to regret an abysmal outing against the West Indies in their opening game, where they were routed for 105 in 21.4 overs, and saw the West Indies chase it down with 36 overs to spare. That ruined their net run rate, with -5.802 the ugly figure which proved too much of a hole to clamber out of.
As a result of his side's scenario, Arthur believes the current tiebreaker set-up punishes a side too heavily for one bad day.
"When you lose like we lost, it's almost impossible to get back on net run rate, and we saw that. So that was disappointing.
"I think the nerves got us in the West Indies game. We froze in that game."
He argued – perhaps self-servingly – that head-to-head record should be the next tiebreaker, which meant Pakistan would have advanced to the semifinals, having beaten New Zealand by six wickets in Birmingham.
"I would certainly have liked them to consider head-to-head because then tonight we'd be in the semifinal. I do think it needs a look. I certainly do. I think amount of wins, head to head, and then if there's three teams all together, then I think net run rate can sort it out.
"Because what it does and what it's done to us is that one very poor game and you really battle to recover again."
There have been suggestions that Pakistan were more 'deserving' of a semifinal spot than the Black Caps, having beaten two of the top four sides – England and New Zealand – and pushed Australia close, while they had a winnable game against Sri Lanka washed out. Comparatively, New Zealand had no success against their semifinal rivals, being thrashed by England and Australia, and receiving a point against India thanks to a washout.
While Arthur acknowledged that the best four sides made the semifinals, he also felt his side were unlucky.
"It's nice to sit here and know we've beaten two of those top four teams during our campaign, which shows we are not a mile off in terms of where we are as a cricket team.
"We beat England, then we got rained out against Sri Lanka, and we didn't play a game for nine days. We didn't train other than indoors, and we lost momentum again going into what was two very tough fixtures, Australia and India.
"I'm not saying by any means we would have beaten Sri Lanka, but we were right there. We were getting on really well. It was almost as if we had to start again, and we hit two of the semifinal teams in Australia and India. And then obviously the second half of the tournament has been superb, and I think we've showcased our talent and played some very, very good cricket."
However, the start and end of Pakistan's tournament will leave Arthur with nightmares.
"It hasn't ended as we would have liked to have ended it.
"I think it just goes back to the first game, the West Indies game. If we looked at the Australian game, we had an opportunity to win that. 145-2 chasing 307, we had an opportunity. We didn't take that opportunity. Those are the two games that, when I go to bed tonight and lie back and think on the campaign, those are the two nightmares I'm going to have."
The Black Caps, on the other hand, can sleep soundly tonight with a spot in the World Cup semifinals tucked away.
The Alternative Commentary Collective are podcasting their way through the World Cup. Known for their unconventional sports analysis and off-kilter banter, the ACC have come to ask the tough questions. Here's the latest episode of 'The Agenda':
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT