Stung by their humiliating defeat in their last game against India and by the reaction of their fans back home, Pakistan went out on Sunday as they kept their Cricket World Cup hopes alive with a morale-boosting 49-run victory over South Africa.
The Pakistani team faced a difficult build-up to the Lord’s game because they simply couldn’t escape the nightmare of being beaten by India last Sunday, bringing their win-loss record to 0-7 against their World Cup arch rivals.
The loss resulted to a “solid evaluation” of latest performances being launched by the Pakistan Cricket Board, while a picture of Sarfaraz yawning during the match against India went viral on social media-with supporters saying it summed up the lacked attitude of the team to the tournament as they had won only one of their past five matches before Sunday.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur expected that the victory against his native nation would spark a resurgence as the 1992 champions will almost definitely have to win their remaining matches against New Zealand, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan if they are to grab one of the top four places in the semi-finals.
From Sunday’s beginning, it looked as if Pakistan had brought in 11 distinct players than those who took off against India on the ground. There appeared to be no urgency in their run chase a week ago even though they faced a stiff victory target with India having accumulated 336-5.
Even with the risk of rain hovering over the contest, they made no attempt to arrive anywhere near the required run rate required to win for the weather-shortened match under the Duckworth / Lewis calculations. They lost by 89 runs.
Serenaded by a green sea and “Pak-is-tan Zindabad” chants in the 30,000-capacity arena, Sarfaraz’s squad got off to a flying start with openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq blasting 29 off the first four overs.
The early attack set the tone of the game, and South Africa, who needed to win to maintain its own World Cup hopes alive, ran out of ideas as Haris Sohail clogged the ball all over the floor to score 89 off just 59 balls to propel his squad to 308-7 off their 50 overs.