Head coach Kirsten says Pakistan ‘let it slip’ against India

Published June 11, 2024 Updated June 11, 2024 04:28pm
Pakistan white-ball coach Gary Kirsten oversees his team’s training session for T20 World Cup 2024 in Dallas on June 5. — ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan white-ball coach Gary Kirsten oversees his team’s training session for T20 World Cup 2024 in Dallas on June 5. — ESPNcricinfo

NEW YORK: Pakistan “let it slip” after bringing themselves in a dominant position to go down against India in their T20 World Cup match on Sunday, the team’s head coach Gary Kirsten has said.

Once cruising at 80-3 with 41 runs remaining to win in six overs, Mohammad Rizwan’s wicket triggered a collapse before Pakistan fell short by six runs.

Babar Azam and co. are now standing at the cusp of missing out on the Super Eight round of the tournament, having lost their opening match to co-hosts USA in the Super Over.

“(We) let it slip at the end,” Kirsten admitted, after his side suffered a “disappointing” loss to India.

“Some maybe not-so-great decision making when you’ve got the game on, it’s (at) a run-a-ball, eight wickets in hand, (it was) decision making at that point and that’s the game. I think we had the game at 76-2, with six or seven overs left at that point, so (it’s) disappointing not to get across the line from the position we got ourselves into.”

Kirsten added that his staff will be “looking into the issues”, as they attempt to dust themselves off before taking on Canada in New York on June 11.

Pakistan must win their two remaining Group ‘A’ matches to stand any chance of progressing. The group will be aiming to correct the “lapses” that have proven costly.

“We probably gave away 10 or 15 runs at the end that we shouldn’t have,” Kirsten continued. “Those small, little attention to details can make a massive difference. We had that game for 35 of the 40 overs.”

Kirsten only very recently took over Pakistan’s limited-overs coaching job and has almost immediately found himself facing adversity. But equally, he’s challenged his players to help solve what’s ailed them.

“These guys are all international players and they’re aware that when they’re not performing at their best that there’s going to be pressure put on them,” he said.

“A lot of these guys have played a lot of T20 cricket around the world over many, many years and it’s really up to them to decide how they’re going to take their games forward. So, if you’re not up to it and you’re not improving, you’re going to get found out somewhere.”

Pakistan will need either India or USA, the two teams that have now beaten them, to falter. That’s on top of taking care of their own business — beating Canada on Wednesday and then Ireland on June 17.

“We’ve still got a chance in the tournament. We’re still hopeful that things can play (into) our hands. We’ve got to play a lot better cricket than what we are playing,” Kirsten added.

BUMRAH DOES IT AGAIN

It was India’s star pacer Jasprit Bumrah who cleaned up Rizwan to bring India back into the contest, though Pakistan still looked in charge with five wickets in hand.

The right-arm seamer with a slingshot action then returned to send down a decisive penultimate over.

Bumrah conceded only three runs in that over while removing Iftikhar Ahmed, Pakistan’s final hope, to set up India’s victory in the low-scoring thriller.

Bumrah’s 24 deliveries included 15 dot balls, illustrating the accuracy which makes him such an asset especially in this format.

“We’ve seen him over the years what he can do,” Indian captain Rohit Sharma said after India went 7-1 against Pakistan in the history of the tournament. “We want him to be in that kind of mindset till the end of the World Cup. He’s a genius with the ball.”

Bumrah, who finished with 3-14, said there was less assistance for the bowlers in the second innings but he did not have trouble adjusting to conditions.

“Even when there is help, you can be desperate and … try to pull off that magic delivery,” he told reporters after claiming his second successive player-of-the-match award. “We had to be accurate because if you go for magic deliveries and try to be too desperate, run making becomes easy.”

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2024

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