Babar Azam blames poor bowling, fielding for Australia loss

Pakistan´s captain Babar Azam fields during the 2023 ICC Men´s Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14, 2023. — AFP

Pakistan captain Babar Azam blamed below-par performance in bowling and fielding departments for the World Cup 2023 loss against Australia on Friday.

The Green Shirts suffered a 62-run defeat against the Kangaroos after being bowled out while chasing a massive target of 368 runs.

Addressing today’s loss — tournament’s second — Babar while commending the pacers and spinners for their comeback in the latter part of the first innings, blamed fielding hiccups and poor bowling in the initial overs for the losing the match.

“First 34 overs in the bowl and field cost us. We dropped Warner and such batters to ensure they cash in. Credit to quicks and spinners for coming back in the last 15, who hit their lengths and the stumps,” the skipper said in the post-match ceremony.

The 29-year-old then talked about the flaws in Pakistan’s batting, mentioning that the team failed to create a big partnership.

“The message for the batters was that we can do it. We’ve done it and the ball comes well under lights. We started well. We got small partnerships but needed big ones in the middle. Honestly, we have to get up to the mark in the first ten with ball and partnerships in the middle with bat,” he said.

The Aussies managed to restrict the Green Shirts to 305 runs after posting a colossal 368-run target courtesy of a 259-run stand from David Warner and Mitchell Marsh.

Pakistan were off to a great start as their opening duo of Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique had a 134-run partnership — the first time a Pakistani opening pair had a century stand against Australia in a World Cup match.

Pakistan were 154-2 in 23.4 overs — after losing Abdullah and Imam — and were in dire need of a big partnership to get back in the team but their skipper Babar Azam was removed by Adam Zampa just after scoring 18 runs courtesy of an excellent catch by Pat Cummins.

The Green Shirts kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but after the arrival of Iftikhar Ahmed, it looked like Pakistan would get in the game once again as the 33-year-old started hitting boundaries.

But Adam Zampa provided the Aussies the much-needed breakthrough and removed Iftikhar and Mohammad Rizwan in back-to-back overs.

The Men in Green were bowled out for 305 runs in 45.3 overs.

Batting first, Australia posted 367 runs on the scoreboard, recording the biggest total against Pakistan in the World Cup.

Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan as the 23-year-old bagged five wickets, his second World Cup fifer.

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