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Asia Cup

‘If we keep dropping catches, we won’t win games’ – Sarfraz Ahmed

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Sarfraz Ahmed pointed to the missed opportunities to dismiss centurion Rohit Sharma for Pakistan’s nine-wicket loss to India in their Asia Cup 2018 Super Four fixture on Sunday, September 23.

The India captain, who ended on 111* off 119 balls, was dropped twice in India’s chase of 238 – first by Imam-ul-Haq off Shaheen Afridi in the sixth over, then by Fakhar Zaman off Shadab Khan in the 28th.

The spills hurt Pakistan, as Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan (114) went on to stitch a 210-run partnership.

“If we keep dropping catches, we won’t win games. We’ve done hard work at fielding. So I’m not sure what’s going wrong,” said Ahmed after the match.

“I thought the pitch was difficult to bat on, that it would be hard for a new batsman to start here and for that reason, we should have held on to our catches.”

Ahmed also suggested that Pakistan didn’t possess the skill levels of Sharma and Dhawan in their ranks.

“They had set batsman to do the job. We’re trying to get early wickets, we’re talking with the bowlers, and when we don’t get them, with batsmen like Rohit and Dhawan, it’s hard to come back,” he said.

“Their skill level is high, ours is not quite there, but by the final, we’ll get better. It’s a do-or-die match for us in the next game (against Bangladesh), we’ll do our best.”

Yuzvendra Chahal, who returned figures of 2-26 with the wickets of Haq and Asif Ali in the Pakistan innings, said that the Indian spinners – Kuldeep Yadav returned 2-41 – benefitted from the good work of the pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

“The new-ball bowlers usually bowl seven to eight overs before we spinners come into the attack, and the pressure they build on the batsmen with the new ball – they concede not more than 20-25 runs – helps us plan our line of attack as to where to bowl to maintain that pressure. Because if you don’t give away boundaries in this format, the batsmen will inevitably be under pressure,” said the leg-spinner.

“The pressure built by the new ball bowlers helps us plan our line of attack”

The 28-year-old came on in just the eighth over. “I have bowled quite a lot during the Powerplay in the IPL and T20s, so this isn’t anything new for me. I keep practising for it in the nets and vary my pace and lengths according to the wicket. Our batsmen put their bowlers under pressure right from the word go,” he said.

“At times, when batsmen are not under pressure, it becomes easy to face the bowlers. And on this wicket, you have got to vary your lines and lengths. I think they have been doing that, but the situation here was slightly different in that we were 150 without loss, and that’s why (Pakistan’s) bowlers were also down mentally.”

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