"This defeat hurts": Pak skipper Babar Azam lays blame on bowlers after crushing loss to Afghanistan

Sports Tuesday 24/October/2023 09:23 AM
"This defeat hurts": Pak skipper Babar Azam lays blame on bowlers after crushing loss to Afghanistan

Chennai: After Pakistan crashed to its second straight loss in the ongoing World Cup, an 8-wicket thrashing at the hands of bitter neighbours Afghanistan, skipper Babar Azam lamented the underwhelming effort in the field saying that his bowling attack was not up to the mark.

After the mauling against India, Pakistan's bowlers had another forgettable outing, failing to put any pressure on the Afghan batters despite defending an above-par total of 283 on a sluggish and challenging Chennai surface.

Afghanistan produced their upset win in their ongoing World Cup campaign, outplaying Pakistan in all three departments.

It was their first-ever win over their bitter neighbours in 50-over cricket, and, that too, in cricket's most prized event.

"This defeat hurts. We thought we had posted a good total on the board, one that our bowlers could defend. However, our bowlers were simply not up to the mark as we neither managed to pick wickets in the middle overs (of the Afghanistan innings) nor put a check on the scoring rate. If you fail to deliver the goods in even one department, you end up on the losing side. It's as simple as that. We couldn't stop the boundaries and gave away easy runs, which cost us in the end. As far as our bowling is concerned, I thought we started well but couldn't effect breakthroughs in the middle overs," Babar said at the post-match press conference.

Some big hits in the back end of the Pakistan innings, by Iftikhar Ahmed (40 from 27) lifted them to a competitive score after Abdullah Shafique (58) and Babar Azam (74) set the platform with contrasting half-centuries.

"Yes, absolutely. This loss would rankle. It was very hard for the team to take. Our plan was to get to a total of 280-290, which we managed to accomplish. However, our bowling and fielding were not up to the mark. We have to improve vastly in these two aspects if we are to challenge teams in the tournament. I felt that in the middle overs, our spinners didn't bowl as tightly as they should have. We didn't bowl enough dot balls, which would have choked the run flow and put their batters under pressure. When your bowlers hit the mark in only 3-4 overs, you end up relieving the pressure on the Opposition," Babar added.

The Pakistan skipper also lauded the Afghans for outclassing his team in all three departments.

"All credit to Afghanistan for the way they played. They fared better than us in all three departments, which is why they won. We are not being able to deliver the goods with our bowling and fielding. I congratulate the Afghans for the way they played. I thought they played some outstanding cricket," Babar said.

He added that his squad will try to recover from this loss and get ready for the next encounter against South Africa.

A win in the next will be critical for them to stay alive in the tournament.

We'll try our best in the next match. We didn't bowl the right lengths in the middle overs. Our spinners couldn't execute their roles today. We couldn't put pressure on their batters," Babar said.

Pakistan is now fifth on the points table and a hat-trick of defeats, against the Proteas later this week, will almost certainly close the knock-out doors for them.

Pakistan will lock horns with the high-flying South Africans on Friday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Bengaluru.