The best knock of my career: Umar

The best knock of my career: Umar

Umar Akmal termed his swashbuckling innings against Australia as the best knock of his career after Pakistan pulled off a come-from-behind 16-run win in a Group 2 match of the World T20 here on Sunday.

“It’s the best knock of my career because the kind of stress our team was under after losing the first match,” he said after picking the man of the match for his 54-ball 94. “For us, it was important to win the match. The kind of free hand the management gave me to go out and express my abilities, I am thankful for that. I played my natural game and I was rewarded with a good score,” he noted.

Pakistan had posted a similar total –191 – against Australia in the 2010 event in West Indies and had gone on to lose that match in the face of a stunning assault by Michael Hussey (24-ball 60, 3x4, 6x6). When Glenn Maxwell (74 off 33 balls) was going strong, Australia appeared to pull off another heist. “Didn’t think about it at all because our bowling is very good and we felt that we would win the match,” he said.

“No doubt, Maxwell hit the ball well but at the end of the day, our bowlers did very well. The way they came back at the end, full credit to the bowlers. As a batting unit, we get a little bit of praise but for us to stay in the tournament, it is the bowlers who did the job. No doubt our bowling is the best,” he pointed out.

Umar was the highest run-getter in the St Lucia match with a 35-ball 54 while his brother Kamran was the second highest run maker with an even 50. Coincidentally, Kamran had the second best individual score with 31 on Sunday too. “We were batting together after a long time but we are used to playing together for Pakistan,” he said while talking about his 96-run stand between them. “We have played for a long time, the two of us. The management gave a free hand to express ourselves; ‘whatever is inside you, go and show it. You can play your best today and you can be the man of the match’ the seniors told me. I took that confidence with the middle. I played positively. I took the pressure on myself and continued to play my shots, which was why I was successful.”

Australian skipper George Bailey blamed the ‘shoddy’ fielding for the defeat. “I am not as disappointed with bowling as fielding. I am not too disappointed with the bowling, all those things you can improve. We got them at two for 40 after seven overs which was a really good start for us. It (fielding) was shoddy for the standards that we set for ourselves. It’s something that we spoke about in this tournament we thought could make a difference. It’s something that we have done very well in the last few games.”

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