Pakistan aim to get Cricket World Cup bid back on track after 'timid' defeat to India

A batting collapse at Narendra Modi Stadium saw Pakistan tumble to a seven-wicket defeat against their rivals

Pakistan were convincingly beaten at the Cricket World Cup by rivals India. Getty
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Pakistan team director Micky Arthur said the team will bounce back at the Cricket World Cup, despite admitting his concern with their "timid" batting performance in the seven-wicket thrashing by rivals India.

Hosts India, passionately cheered on by more than 100,000 fans at Narendra Modi Stadium, maintained their unbeaten record against Pakistan with a comprehensive victory on Saturday, outperforming their rivals in all departments.

Pakistan, cruising at 155-2 in the 29th over, suffered a spectacular meltdown to be all out for 191 with more than seven overs left in their innings.

India then returned to lay bare Pakistan's bowling frailties and romped home with nearly 20 overs to spare in the lop-sided blockbuster.

Arthur accepted Pakistan's batters lacked aggression in their first loss in three matches, following wins over the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

"I just think we were a little bit timid tonight with our overall performance," Arthur said. "To go from 155 for two, as it was, to 190-odd all out is just not on.

"Credit to India, I thought they bowled really well, but I just thought our performance was just a little bit timid."

Skipper Babar Azam (50) and in-form Mohammad Rizwan (49) forged the only half-century partnership in the Pakistan innings.

Arthur described the pair as "classy performers" but felt they too should have asserted themselves more, especially against the Indian spinners.

"I did think we could probably have taken on the Indian spinners just a little bit more. But again, they were building and building nicely," he said.

"I think we've got to realise that there are two ways to always skin a cat. And we've had success by taking it deep and then cashing in at the back end."

Pakistan's bowling also lacked firepower against India.

Pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi has not been at his best since returning from a knee injury, while spinner Shadab Khan's lack of success in the middle overs has been a talking point of late.

Arthur said they were trying to address those issues.

"Look, it'd be remiss of me to discuss it out here, but we've been doing some work with them," the former Australia coach said.

"The key for us now is getting our players to remain calm. It's getting our players to focus on the next game, and it's to build them up and make sure that they go into that next game thinking they can run through a brick wall."

Pakistan fans inside the Narendra Modi Stadium were conspicuous by their absence, a result of Pakistanis not being granted visas for the tournament. It ensured the home support for India was even more pronounced than it might have been, giving the match a feel of a home series rather than a World Cup.

Arthur conceded that the atmosphere did play a part in Pakistan's defeat but was keen not to use it as an excuse.

"Look, I'd be lying if I said it did [not affect us]," Arthur said. "It didn't seem like an ICC event to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event.

"But I'm not going to use that as an excuse because for us it was about living the moment, it was about the next ball, and it was about how we were going to combat the Indian players."

India return to action on Thursday aiming for a fourth straight World Cup win when they play Bangladesh in Pune, before Pakistan take on Australia in Bengaluru on Friday.

Updated: October 15, 2023, 7:49 AM