Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, addressed his team’s humiliating eight-wicket loss to Afghanistan in Chennai, acknowledging criticism after Pakistan’s third consecutive defeat in the ongoing World Cup.

In the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023, Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, faced severe criticism following their third consecutive defeat, an eight-wicket loss to Afghanistan in Chennai. Pakistan chose to bat first, setting a target of 282/7 with half-centuries from Abdullah Shafique (58) and Babar Azam (74).

However, Afghanistan, under Hasmatullah Shahidi’s leadership, successfully chased down the target with an over to spare. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65) and Ibrahim Zadran (87) formed a formidable 130-run partnership, while Rahmat Shah (77) and Shahidi (48) sealed the win with an unbeaten 96-run partnership. This marked Afghanistan’s first ODI victory over Pakistan in eight attempts.

Babar Azam expressed disappointment with the bowlers, especially the spinners, for failing to apply pressure in the middle overs at the spin-friendly Chepauk stadium.

“Yes, the defeat has hurt us a lot. We wanted to put up a total of around 280-290. After we achieved that, we were not up to the mark with our bowling and fielding. The spinners didn’t bowl the way we wanted them to in the middle overs,” Babar said when speaking in the post-match ceremony.

“We started well in the middle overs, but we needed wickets. The pitch was helping the spinners even in the second innings. But we, especially our spinners, didn’t hit our lengths. Every over we conceded a boundary, so there was no pressure on their batsmen,” he added.

Babar also expressed his disappointment with Pakistan’s fielding and bowling performance. He noted that the team struggled to excel in all departments simultaneously. Fielding, he emphasized, required the right attitude and extra effort, which he felt was lacking.

The skipper then highlighted the importance of focusing on the ball and being proactive as a fielder, which he believed the team needed to improve. Regarding the bowling, he mentioned that they couldn’t execute their plans effectively, leading to a focus on stopping runs rather than taking wickets, which put them under pressure.

Babar further highlighted the unforgiving margin for error, especially in these conditions, where even slight deviations from the stumps resulted in boundaries.

“Here, the margin of error for bowlers is very low. If you bowl a little bit away from the stumps, you get hit. So, we are lacking there a little bit. We are not able to bowl within the stumps. The same goes for the spinners. We bowl four good balls and then there are two balls that go for boundaries or runs, because the margin is very small. If you bowl consistently at one place, then there will be pressure. So that thing is missing,” Babar concluded.



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Last Updated on October 24, 2023

Senior Sports Copywriter