Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz said his team is only drawing inspiration from their 1992 World Cup triumph and not looking too much into the similarities between that campaign and their run in the 2019 edition.
Imran Khan led Pakistan to their first and only World Cup title 27 years ago and that very pattern of wins, losses and washouts has been followed by the Men in Green this year, raising hopes of an incredible title run.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s team looked down and almost out after a heavy defeat to India but have bounced back with three successive wins.
Riaz was the star of the show in their latest win over Afghanistan, picking up 2-29 before hitting a critical 15 with the bat.
Asked if the team is following the 1992 path, Riaz was quoted by AFP as saying: “We don’t really talk about 1992 that much.
“The turnaround is due to the motivation and the ambition of the team to win this World Cup. Everybody is giving their 100 per cent”
Young left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi has taken seven wickets in his team’s last three wins and Wahab wass all praise for the 19-year-old.
“Shaheen was under pressure after his first game against Australia but he has come back and taken some important wickets for us,” Riaz said.
“(Mohammad) Amir we already know is one of the best bowlers in the world who swings the ball both ways. That puts pressure on the batsmen to play him. It’s a good combination right now, we are trying to take wickets and that is putting the team in a great position.”
West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer wants his side to rediscover a “winning culture” after failing to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Five defeats in seven matches means the West Indies have nothing to play for in their final two games against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan on Monday and Thursday respectively, but Reifer is determined to see improved performances from his side.
“Yes we are out of the World Cup but there is still a lot of cricket to play after the World Cup,” Reifer told a pre-match press conference.
“It’s important for us to find the winning ways and find the winning formula going forward, so it is important for us to play this game as hard as possible.
“We want to create that winning culture. It has to start from somewhere. So we’re going to approach every game in a professional manner. The guys are still up for it. We’re good to go.”
Reifer revealed that there had been some “soul-searching” in the dressing room as the players and management looked to pinpoint the reasons behind a disappointing campaign.
“It is important for us and important for the fans in the Caribbean as well, for us to put up the performances, even at the back end of the World Cup,” Reifer added.
“I think we didn’t seize the key moments in games. You look back at our tournament, we played well against Pakistan. We had Australia on the ropes. New Zealand as well. I thought we need to seize the key moments in the game. At crucial times we dropped a few crucial chances as well.
“And then collectively we didn’t bat properly. The players are not comfortable with their performances, responsibility, those sort of conversations that we had in that team meeting.
“So going forward, I’m looking forward to seeing how the guys play in the next two games.”
England batsmen finally got an opportunity to flex their muscles on a good pitch at the 2019 World Cup and they made it count after Jonny Bairstow’s brilliant ton laid the foundation of a mammoth 337-7 in Birmingham on Sunday.
Jason Roy returned despite being not 100 per cent fit and he teamed up with Bairstow to star in a 160-run opening stand inside 23 overs. The hosts lost their way in the middle but recovered thanks to a breathtaking 79 from 54 balls from Ben Stokes.
India’s wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav (1-72) and Yuzvendra Chahal (0-88) were taken to the cleaners while Mohammed Shami’s five wickets cost 69 runs. The only Indian bowler who held his own against a rampant England batting was Jaspritr Bumrah who gave away just 44 runs from his 10 overs and got the wicket of Stokes.
It was masterclass on how to bowl in good batting conditions from Bumrah. Even the set batsmen couldn’t line him up as Bumrah conceded just three boundaries in total and finished the innings by giving away just three in the 50th. His yorkers, slower balls and bouncers were on the money and he didn’t deviate from his plans even as Shami leaked full toss after full toss from the other end. Gold class stuff.
Jasprit Bumrah has bowled 31 death overs in ODIs this year. Only two of them have seen him concede more than 10 runs. #CWC19— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) June 30, 2019
Bumrah didn’t try anything fancy on a true batting pitch. Just fast and straight with a few slower ones against the tailenders. To concede just three boundaries when the opposition has amassed nearly 350 is other worldly. Shame he didn’t get economical support from the other end.
In excellent batting conditions, you really can’t ask for anything more while bowling first. When things aren’t going your way, it takes a huge effort to cut your losses and Bumrah ensured that India weren’t chasing 370, which was a distinct possibility.
You will rarely see such control throughout 10 overs from a bowler while the opposition is decimating the rest of the attack. It showed what class bowler Bumrah is and also that England played him smartly – not taking many risks against him and getting the runs from the other end.