Virat made it one-sided: Hafeez
Colombo, Oct 1: Pakistan's failure to build partnerships after opting to bat first cost them the match in their Super Eights game against India at the R Premadasa Stadium. The Indian bowlers came up with a good performance in a crunch situation to restrict the arch rivals, and their batsmen reached the target with ease. A place in the knock-outs is likely to be decided on net run-rate if both teams win their respective remaining games.
Speaking to media after the match, Mohammad Hafeez reflected on the loss and applauded Virat Kohli's performance.
On the decision to bat first
I don’t think batting first was a mistake. As a team, we wanted to play positively and set a target. The pitch was breaking, it was there for all to see, and our attack is spin-based. We thought if we could score 160, it would be a defendable total. But unfortunately, we lost wickets at regular intervals and couldn’t have a meaningful partnership early on in the innings. As a result, we couldn’t set the total we wanted to.
On the match
Our bowling is our strength, it has always been our strength, and of that there is no doubt. The ball was turning on this pitch, and not coming on to the bat. Had we got 150 to 160, it would have been a very competitive score; but in the end, Virat Kohli’s innings was spectacular. He made it a totally one-sided match.
On Virat Kohli's unbeaten 78 off 61 deliveries
I think he is in the best form of his life. I haven’t seen anyone in the form that he is in at the moment. He is carrying on with his good form; it’s a great thing for him as a batsman.
On sending Shahid Afridi up the batting order at No.3 ahead of Nasir Jamshed
We felt he could bat without any pressure and freely at No.3. Had he played a good innings, it would have been good for the team. He has done brilliantly well for Pakistan as an all-rounder.
There is a place for him in the combination of the team, he figures in the composition of the XI we have worked out for this tournament. He has always been a match-winner for Pakistan. He is not in form at the moment, but I still believe his capacity as a batsman and bowler is undiminished; he has done well in the past and he will do well in the future too.
On the loss
Today, India played better cricket than Pakistan, there is no doubt. Virat was excellent tonight, but I don’t think there was anything missing as far as our body language was concerned. We really wanted to win the game, but unfortunately we kept losing wickets at regular intervals, so we couldn’t come back after the first ten overs. We were looking for a few early strikes when India batted, but once we couldn’t get those wickets early on, India got on top of us.