Babar’s men set England just 138 to win, but Afridi struck early to dismiss England opener Alex Hales before making a superb catch to remove Harry Brook off Shadab Khan’s bowling, stirring Pakistan’s hopes of victory.
However, Afridi injured himself in his role in Brook’s wicket and was forced off the field, and though he did return, the 22-year-old managed just one delivery before having to make way again.
It was a bitter blow for Pakistan, who seemingly lost all momentum as Ben Stokes’ half-century and some crucial boundaries from Moeen Ali condemned them to a heartbreaking defeat.
Babar pointed to Afridi’s injury as the key moment, saying in the post-match presentation: “We were 20 runs short, but the fight to the last over was unbelievable.
“Our bowling is one of the best but unfortunately Shaheen’s injury cost us a different result, but that’s part of the game.
“The way the team has gone in the last four matches [was] incredible. I told the boys to play their natural game, with freedom. Congratulations to England.”
The final defeat ended a disappointing individual tournament for Babar, who finished with a total run tally of 124 off 133 balls, while facing 62 dot balls as he passed 50 just once across his seven innings.
But the Pakistan captain was pleased with his team’s campaign, despite his own struggles, adding in his press conference: “We weren’t expecting to lose the first two.
“But how we’ve come back, grabbed chances, I’m proud of the team as a captain.”