Pakistan were left ruing their luck in their quest to clinch their first World Cup title since 1992, with key fast bowler Mohammad Irfan ruled out of the rest of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with injury.
Irfan has been the main strike bowler for Misbah-ul-Haq at this World Cup, troubling batsmen with his ability to get the extra bounce as well as just that touch of movement.
Having missed the final group game against Ireland, which Pakistan won to seal their place in the quarterfinals, the management was hopeful over Irfan's return for the quarterfinal clash against Australia on Friday.
However, Irfan has lost his battle with a pelvic injury, with Pakistan's physiotherapist Brad Robinson confirming a stress fracture, after an MRI scan.
"This injury rules Irfan out of the World Cup," Robinson said in a release.
Irfan has been the go-to bowler for Misbah at this World Cup, with the fast bowler having the ability to pick up crucial wickets. While he might not be up there on the top of the wicket-takers list – he has right from five matches -- there is little doubt the value that Irfan brings to the squad.
The Australia openers David Warner and Aaron Finch would not have been looking forward to playing Irfan in the quarterfinals, and, even if the man who filled in in the playing XI for Irfan against Ireland – Ehsan Adil – did pretty well, the batsmen would definitely prefer to play him over the 7ft 1in fast bowler.
The PCB release also said a replacement for Mohammad Irfan would be considered only if Pakistan get to the semifinals with a win over Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
Irfan is the third Pakistan player from the original XI to succumb to injury, after fellow fast bowler, Junaid Khan, and the experienced Mohammad Hafeez were also forced to pull out.