CHENNAI: Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam on Monday reprimanded the team’s poor fielding performance leading to a humiliating World Cup 2023 loss against Afghanistan at Chennai’s Chidambaram Stadium.
Afghanistan sailed through Pakistan’s 283-run target courtesy of impressive innings from Ibrahim Zadran (87), Rahmat Shah (77 not out), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65), and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (48 not out) to secure their second win in the ongoing tournament.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Babar blamed below-par performances in bowling and fielding departments for their consecutive third loss in the ongoing mega event.
“Players are absent-minded during fielding […] don’t know what they are thinking,” the skipper said while admitting that the team is “saddened” after today’s loss.
“We didn’t perform well in bowling and fielding [departments]”, he said and also acknowledged that the “spinners didn’t bowl well in the middle overs and didn’t put [enough] pressure [on Afghan batters].”
The 29-year-old also turned down any “added captaincy pressure” and said that he keeps both aspects of his responsibilities separate from each other.
“There is no truth in [team] being under pressure after India loss.”
“Our [game] plans are not seeing success […] Whatever we plan, is not being implemented to the fullest,” the skipper added.
Babar also congratulated Afghanistan on their historic win while reiterating his commitment to win the remaining matches of the World Cup.
Meanwhile, the victorious captain, Shahidi, sporting a cheerful smile, described the triumph as nice.
“This win tastes nice. The way we chased was very professional. Looking forward to the other games. The way we chased today, we’ll do it again. We have been playing quality cricket, the belief was there when we played the Asia Cup as well,” Shahidi said.
The Afghan skipper reflected on the England win and said his men had carried over the confidence from there.
“First was England, today Pakistan, looking forward to the other games. We’ll try to play positive cricket and do a lot for our country.”
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan now have two wins and three losses from their five group games and are ranked fifth and sixth on the points table, respectively.
The two sides have faced each other eight times in one-day internationals (ODIs), with the score now standing at 7-1 following Afghanistan’s maiden win today.