Pakistan batter Fakhar Zaman said he would be lying if he said the game against India didn’t hurt Pakistan’s morale.
Babar Azam’s men started the 2023 ODI World Cup with back-to-back wins against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka but lost all four subsequent games, starting with the fixture against the host at the Narendra Modi Stadium on October 14.
“India vs Pakistan is always big. It always matters. I would be lying if I said otherwise,” the 33-year-old said, addressing the media after the seven-wicket win over Bangladesh.
Fakhar, admittedly, could have chased an individual hundred at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday but chose to prioritise his team’s future in the showpiece 50-over tournament.
“The situation we are in, at the moment, we wanted to chase it in 28-29 overs. Otherwise, it would have been very easy for me to get to the hundred,” he said.
Fakhar top-scored for Pakistan with 81 off 74 balls, ensuring the side crossed the finish line in 32.3 overs to move fifth on the standings with six points.
“In the World Cup, there are some things that give you confidence. This win is one, and we have been waiting for it. We wish to win the next two games while maintaining a good (net) run-rate. Our target is the semifinal, and we will work hard for it,” Fakhar, who replaced Imam-ul-Haq in the final eleven on Tuesday after an extended ‘precautionary’ injury break, said.
Opposition all-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz also heaped praise on Fakhar. He said, “Definitely (it was difficult to bowl to him)... He played with a lot of freedom.”
Bangladesh is now out of contention for a spot in the semifinal, and Mehidy assumes things could have panned out differently if they had more runs on the board to defend against Pakistan.
He said, “The boys are down. But at the end of the day, it all happens in cricket. You win some days, lose some other day... Pakistan’s opening partnership hurt us. An early wicket or two would have helped; 250-plus would have been more competitive.”
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