Pakistan were incredibly hurt by the scathing reactions after the loss to India but the team is now “alive and kicking”, head coach Mickey Arthur said after his side registered a convincing 49-run win over South Africa.
Pakistan came out all guns blazing in their virtual knockout tie against South Africa on Sunday. Haris Sohail, who was playing only his second match of the World Cup after being preferred over Shoaib Malik, blasted a brilliant 89 off 59 balls that helped his side to 308/7 from their 50 overs.
Mohammad Amir (2/49), Wahab Riaz (3/46) and Shadab Khan (3/50) then shined with the ball, limiting the Proteas to 259/9 in 50 overs. The victory keeps Pakistan’s chances of reaching the semi-finals alive.
“I just think the guys were burnt last week (after the India match). The guys were incredibly hurt by media, by public, by social media, and hopefully we got a proper reaction from them today that can just shut some people up for a little while,” said the coach.
If Pakistan win all their remaining three games and the results of other teams go in their favour, they can still make the semifinals. The 1992 winners face table-toppers New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their next three matches.
Optimistic about his side’s chances, Arthur said Pakistan have the capability to beat the best teams in the tournament.
“I know we can beat New Zealand. We are alive and kicking, without a doubt, and if we play our best game, we can beat anybody. Whether that’s New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh. Against England we put our three disciplines together, we are as good as any team in this competition.”
Pakistan have been extremely sloppy in the field throughout the tournament. They have dropped as many as 16 catches in the tournament till now, including an astonishing six against South Africa.
“That’s something we’ll be exploring again in the next couple of days because we cannot be dropping that many catches and then expect to beat teams getting into almost a knockout phase for us. So that’s something we’re going to have to keep working at and keep chipping at,” said Arthur.