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Pakistan Must Improve Ahead of India Clash: Sarfraz

by AFP

Aamir Qureshi—AFP

National cricket team captain says squad must improve fielding standards ahead of Sunday’s match

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said his side had to raise its fielding standards ahead of a crucial World Cup match against rivals India at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Pakistan once again produced some sloppy out-cricket in a 41-run group stage defeat by champions Australia at Taunton on Wednesday, dropping three catches amid other misfields. “We need to improve because if we want to beat bigger teams like Australia and India then all three aspects of the game are crucial,” said Sarfraz. “Definitely I think the fielding needs improvement—the fielding is not up to the mark,” the wicketkeeper admitted. “We work together again, and work hard before the India match.”

Pakistan have never beaten India in six World Cup matches dating back to 1992.

Pakistan could have derailed Australia at the start, after Sarfraz won the toss and opted to field first. But first slip Asif Ali dropped Aaron Finch off paceman Wahab Riaz when the Australian skipper was on 26 with the total at 67.

Finch (82) and David Warner (107) took the opening stand to 146 before Mohammad Amir turned the match on its head with a career best 5-30 as Australia were bowled out for 307 in 49 overs.

Sarfraz said Pakistan had made too many mistakes of their own in a match where they were dismissed for 266 in 45.4 overs. They now have three points from four games, with two defeats, one win—a surprise success over tournament hosts and favorites England—and a no-result.

“We committed more mistakes than Australia,” said Sarfaraz. “We won a good toss but didn’t bowl well in the first 30 overs.”

Sarfraz added a rapid collapse that saw three wickets lost for 11 runs as Pakistan slumped to 147-5 had also proved costly. “I think losing three wickets in the space of 15 balls was the turning point. Babar [Azam, who made 30 including seven fours] was playing well and his was a soft dismissal.”

Mohammad Hafeez also fell when well set, for 46, when he hit a Finch full toss straight to deep square leg. “The ball which Mohammad Hafeez got out to was a loose one—it should have gone over the fence,” said Sarfraz. “We have to overcome our mistakes because India are also a very strong team. We will assess our performance and then we will plan.”

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