“They (India) certainly came out, and their discipline was so much better,” said coach Mickey Arthur after Pakistan’s 8-wicket loss against India on Wednesday, 19 September. A close win over Hong Kong might have ‘scared’ the Rohit Sharma-led team, he said.
"They were probably quite good for the hit-out last night and they got a little bit of a scare. They certainly came out, and their discipline was so much better. We saw what a difference (Jasprit) Bumrah makes to the attack. I thought their spinners bowled well, and their lengths were much better than last night. I think they were better for their hit-out." - Mickey Arthur, Pakistan Coach
After a lacklustre performance against minnows Hong Kong, India aced in all three departments as they thrashed Pakistan in a one-sided Asia Cup group league match.
It was a superlative effort from the bowling unit that saw them shot out Pakistan for a paltry 162 in 43.1 overs before Rohit Sharma (52 off 39 balls) and Shikhat Dhawan (46 off 54 balls) added 86 for the opening wicket to ensure a smooth chase for the 'Men In Blue' in only 29 overs.
‘We Panicked & Went Away From Our Plans’
Opting to bat, Pakistan were in trouble straight away as Bhuvneshwar dealt a twin blow removing the in-form duo of Imam ul Haq (2) and Fakhar Zaman (0) to reduce them to 2 for 3.
“On a wicket like that, you need to strike really early if you're going to defend it,” said Arthur. “We didn't strike early enough. But, saying that, we went away from our plans too quickly. We said that our batters batted outside our roles and that wasn't acceptable.
“With our bowling, we went outside our plans far too quickly. We wanted to bowl hard lengths, hit the top of off stump. It was tough to score then. There was a bit of panic when they didn’t strike early. We panicked and went away from our plans.”
A disappointed coach Arthur said that Pakistan team “batted outside their roles”.
"We sort of batted outside our roles, which was very disappointing. It’s not Imam-ul-Haq’s role to be running down to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over. It’s not Sarfraz’s role to be hitting over the top and getting caught out there. We’ve got X-factor guys whose role it is to do that." - Mickey Arthur, Pakistan Coach
“If Fakhar (Zaman) gets out playing that way, it's okay. If Asif (Ali) gets out like that, it's okay, because that's his role. But the other four batsmen certainly need to take responsibility.
"(It was) the pressure that told on Imam. As I said, out of his role, he had two off eight balls or whatever, but Fakhar had just faced a maiden. He tried to have a go, he tried to hit the ball that's not in his area. I do think there was a little bit of pressure,” he added.
Pakistan will once again play India in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup on Sunday, 23 September.
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