Pakistan captain Babar Azam expressed deep disappointment after his team suffered an unexpected eight-wicket defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in the World Cup, jeopardizing their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
In a historic victory, Afghanistan achieved their first-ever one-day win over Pakistan, successfully chasing down a target of 283 runs with an over to spare. Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz played pivotal roles in building a strong platform, with Zadran contributing 87 runs off 113 balls and Gurbaz adding 65 runs off 53 balls. The partnership of 130 runs for the first wicket set the stage for Afghanistan’s victory, and Rahmat Shah’s unbeaten 77 off 84 balls, along with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi’s 48 not out, sealed the win for the Afghan team.
Babar Azam, visibly shaken by the outcome, acknowledged the team’s hurt. Pakistan now has three defeats and two wins in five matches, putting their semi-finals hopes in jeopardy. Their next challenge will be facing a formidable South Africa in Chennai on Friday.
Azam urged his team to learn from this defeat, particularly emphasizing the need to improve their bowling and fielding. He recognized Afghanistan’s quality spinners and highlighted the importance of not losing wickets to them in the early overs. Despite the setback, Azam remained hopeful that Pakistan could still qualify for the semi-finals but stressed the importance of playing their best cricket in all departments and rectifying their mistakes.
Azam also lamented the absence of fast bowler Naseem Shah, who was ruled out of the World Cup due to a shoulder injury. He mentioned that Naseem’s absence was deeply felt, and Pakistan’s bowling had not performed as expected.
In conclusion, Azam emphasized the need to focus on the positives, adopt a different mindset, and ensure that the team’s bowlers execute their plans effectively in upcoming matches.