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Sarfraz Won’t Rule Out World Cup Revival for Pakistan

by AFP
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Aamir Qureshi—AFP

National team captain says they have to win remaining four matches for a potential slot in the semi-final

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed insists his team’s World Cup dream is not over yet despite their “hurtful” defeat against bitter rivals India on Sunday.

India thumped Pakistan by 89 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in a rain-curtailed match at Old Trafford. The loss leaves Pakistan with just three points from five games.

They are lying ninth, just above minnows Afghanistan, in the 10-team table.

India were inspired by a brilliant 140 by man-of-the-match Rohit Sharma as the opener’s second century of the World Cup led his team to an imperious 336-5 in their 50 overs. Pakistan, given a revised target of 302 in 40 overs due to rain, ended up on 212-6.

“The defeat against India hurts,” Sarfraz said after Pakistan’s seventh defeat in as many World Cup matches against India. “Naturally when you lose like this, your morale goes down but we have to lift ourselves because we are still not out of the World Cup and have to win all our four remaining matches.”

Pakistan’s remaining matches are against South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Sarfraz hasn’t given up hope of Pakistan somehow snatching an unlikely semi-final berth. “We know the task is tough and we have to win all our matches so we have no margin of error,” said Sarfraz, whose team opened the World Cup with a defeat against West Indies.

They then shocked world number one and pre-tournament favorites England before a rained-off match against Sri Lanka and a defeat against Australia.

Sarfraz praised India for handling the pressure well in such a high-stakes occasion. “It’s correct that we’re not winning the World Cup matches against India,” he said. “I think it’s a special game and the team that handles the pressure well wins and India did that today and in previous World Cup matches as well.”

Sarfraz admitted Pakistan’s middle-order collapse was the turning point in their defeat. “I think Babar [Azam] and Fakhar [Zaman] played really well, but unfortunately we lost too many wickets and that became the turning point,” said Sarfraz. Pakistan lost four wickets in the space of 18 balls, slumping from 117-1 to 129-5 after Babar and Fakhar added 104 runs for the second wicket.

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