Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has insisted they can bounce back from a “shocking” start to the World Cup. Hostile fast bowling by the West Indies saw Pakistan slump to just 105 -- their second-lowest World Cup total -- in a mere 21.4 overs at Trent Bridge on Friday. The West Indies, two-time former champions, then polished off the meagre target in 13.4 overs on the back of dashing opener Chris Gayle’s 34-ball 50 which included six fours and three sixes.
Arthur did not hide from the scale of a seven-wicket defeat, saying it had gone against everything he had seen from his players in the build-up. “Yes, it was a shocking start -- the players did not take the preparations into the the middle,” Arthur told AFP. “But we will dust ourselves off and come back strong.”
Pakistan’s batsmen were undone by the short-pitched bowling of the West Indies pace trio. Oshane Thomas led the way with four for 27, while captain Jason Holder (three for 42) and Andre Russell (two for four) also made telling contributions to a match that was all finished in under half of the scheduled 100 overs.
Opener Fakhar Zaman and number three Babar Azam scored 22 each while Wahab Riaz (18) and Mohammad Hafeez (16) were the only other Pakistan batsmen to reach the double figures. Arthur said his team’s batting performance was all the more disappointing as they had expected to face short-pitched bowling and prepared accordingly.
“We knew that we were going to get short-pitched bowling and had prepared very well for it, so was disappointing to see us play like that because we were prepared,” the South African said.
Pakistan have now last their last 11 completed one-day internations but Riaz insisted they did not have a mental block when it came to facing fast bowling.“We didn’t play the short ball well but we’ve seen in past series that we can score runs against that sort of bowling,” said Riaz. “If people want to bowl us bouncers, then we will have no problems with that.
“It’s not a mental issue. We have been losing in the past, we need to find a way to get out of this pattern,” he added.
Pakistan have a short turnaround in which to put their abject defeat behind them before they return to Trent Bridge for their second World Cup game against tournament hosts England on Monday.
England, the world’s top-ranked ODI side, launched their World Cup campaign in style with a 104-run victory over South Africa at the Oval on Thursday.They came into the World Cup on the vack of 4-0 ODI series rout of Pakistan -- which included a three-wicket win at Trent Bridge.
But Arthur said Pakistan would be a better side for that experience. “Yes, we know how good England are but we know them and are battle-hardened against them.”