Inzamam praises scrappy Aghanistan

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the coach of Afghanistan, praised his team for mounting a worthy fight against a formidable team in Sri Lanka in its Super 10 game on Thursday.

Inzamam-ul-Haq (right, sitting), the Afghanistan coach, chats with the captain of the team, Asghar Stanikzai, during the tie against Sri Lanka.   -  AP

Pakistan great Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is now the coach of Afghanistan, was all praise for his team’s gritty performance against Sri Lanka during its six-wicket loss in the World T20 match on Thursday. Afghanistan had rode on its skipper Asghar Stanikzai’s 62 to post a challenging 153 for 7, but Tillakaratne Dilshan > steered the defending champion home with an unbeaten 83 from 56 balls in its Super 10 match in Group One.

“We need experience, especially when we’re taking on the world champions. But we gave them some tough time. We could have won but Sri Lanka was an experienced side and is the defending champion, and handled the pressure well,” the Pakistani batting great said at the post match news conference.

Inzamam was also full praise for skipper Stanikzai, who led by example by stitching 61 from 33 balls alongside Samiullah Shenwari (31) to demolish the Lankans attack after it was struggled to 51 for 4 in the first 11 overs.

“The way the boys did not give up, speaks a lot... We always fought against a team who’re defending champions. In batting also we were stuck but despite that the lower order showed the way. It was necessary to carry the innings forward with some big hits. Not only did the captain but all the players contributed,” he said.

Need for exposure

“The more International exposure we get, the better we would become. We batted and bowled well but yes, there were some fielding lapses. It was all because of the pressure of a big tournament. We displayed some good cricket and would improve. I can’t say how much time we will take. But the way we’re improving and putting hardwork, you will see Afghanistan in a good shape and play some good cricket.”

Sri Lanka was in a spot of bother at 85 for 3 but Dilshan held his nerves to make the difference as it won with seven balls to spare.

“They (Sri Lankans) are seasoned campaigner in T20Is. Dilshan took the game away single handedly. I’m not at all disappointed. We will give our 100 per cent in the remaining matches,” Inzamam said.

The 46-year-old former batsman said it would have fancied its chances if it could have managed a score of 170-plus. “We could have put some pressure. But we were stuck in the first 10 overs.”

Asked to comment on India-Pakistan high voltage match on Saturday, he said with a smile: “I’m Afghan coach...”

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