Pakistan skipper Babar Azam admitted they were not up to the mark with the ball against Afghanistan after they were stunned by eight wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai in the ongoing World Cup 2023 on Monday. The Men in Green posted a decent score of 282 runs on the board but Afghanistan was able to spring a surprise.
Afghanistan openers – Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran – added 130 runs for the opening alliance and set the foundation of the run-chase. Gurbaz was once again the aggressor as Afghanistan posted 60 runs in the Powerplay overs.
The youngster scored 65 runs from 53 balls before he was dismissed by Shaheen Shah Afridi. However, Zadran, who hasn’t been in the best of forms, scored a match-winning knock of 87 runs, Afghanistan’s second-highest score in World Cups.
After Zadran was dismissed, a well-settled Rahman Shah added 96 runs with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi. Shah scored an unbeaten 77 whereas Shahidi scored 48 to take Afghanistan to an emphatic win.
This is the first time that Afghanistan has beaten Pakistan in One-Day cricket and it is a historic moment for the whole of the country. Babar Azam feels his bowlers failed to create any impact in the middle overs and it led to their downfall.
Barring Hasan Ali, all the Pakistan bowlers conceded their runs at more than five runs/over and they could not create any kind of pressure as they were not consistent enough in hitting the right areas. Furthermore, Pakistan were sloppy in the field as they could not take their chances and misfielded to gift extra runs to the opposition.
Babar Azam said in the post-match presentation, “This hurts us. We had a good total. In the bowling, we weren’t up to the mark as we are not taking wickets in the middle overs. If you are not good in even one department, then you’ll lose the game. We didn’t stop boundaries and gave away runs, that cost us. Bowling – we started well, in the middle overs, we needed wickets but we couldn’t take any.”
He added, “All credit to Afghanistan the way they played in all three departments. That’s why they won. We are not playing good cricket in bowling and fielding. We’ll try our best in the next match. We didn’t hit the lengths in the middle overs, especially our spinners. We couldn’t put pressure on the batters.”
Pakistan have now lost three matches on the bounce after winning their opening two matches. The Men in Green will next take on South Africa at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on Friday.