Close games, especially ones lost by the barest of margins can push you enough to conquer the world or break your spirit. Pakistan, needing a win against South Africa in their World Cup league stage game here on Friday, came as close as it possibly could before letting the Proteas slip through with a one-wicket win.
Team director Mickey Arthur could not help but smile helplessly at the result his boys have to stomach over the next few days.
“To be brutally honest, we haven’t put together the perfect game yet. We haven’t batted well enough as a unit. The par score here on this pitch was 300. I thought we bowled really well, perhaps this was our best bowling performance even but we didn’t put together enough runs on the board,” he told reporters after the game.
“You have to have one of your top four sticking around at the 40-over mark. Our success over the past year stemmed from there,” Arthur assessed.
Pakistan’s feeble defence saw the side have little control over proceedings, except towards the end, when wickets began to tumble for the South Africans. The result turns up the heat on an already under-pressure skipper Babar Azam.
“It’s unfair to start a witch hunt, certainly of Babar Azam, or Inzy (chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq) or on the coaching contingent. The efforts have been first class. Our fortunes are not because of a lack of effort. Tonight I’m proud of the boys because they fought. We were below par with the bat but the bowlers were very good today, they gave it everything,” Arthur added.
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