Defeat to India left Pakistan in tears

Semifinal loss was hard to digest, say cricketers

Talking to the media during a felicitation function hosted by Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, the players said defeat to India was hard to comprehend as huge expectations were associated with the game.

“Most of the players wept in the dressing room after the match. No one could be more disappointed than us at that moment,” said Pakistan speedster Wahab Riaz, who accounted for five Indian wickets during the match.

“We were all very upset because we were aware of the expectations of people back home,” Riaz added.

On his own performance with the ball, the left-arm bowler said he would have gladly sacrificed his five wickets for a Pakistan win and admitted that playing against India had been a high for him.

Wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, who had a miserable run behind the stumps during the quadrennial event, said although they dropped too many catches, they should still have won the match.

He admitted that the pressure got better of them. “We played very well, even though we dropped those catches but we should have won the match. Maybe it was the pressure of the situation or just that the Indian bowlers and fielders showed more intensity. But we couldn’t reach the target and that still hurts us,” Kamran said.

Umar Akmal, his younger brother who looked in good touch with the bat against India before being consumed by a quicker one from Harbhajan Singh, urged the fans to weigh their performances in an even balance and not just focus on the loss to India.

“Believe me, the reception we got after returning from India despite the disappointing loss has only made the players more determined to do well in future,” the younger Akmal stressed.

Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who was dropped from the national team on Wednesday, noted that it was a tense match for the players of both sides and the result was a low point for his team.

“It was not an easy pitch to bat on under lights. At times, it was difficult to see the ball and it kept on doing something all the time. The conditions were tough for chasing, but with our batting strength we all felt we could make it,” he said.

Tough moments

Opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez said as a team, the feeling in the dressing room after the defeat could not be explained.

“We all know that cricket is a sport and the beauty of sport is that one team has to lose and the other ends up victors. But it goes without saying that the defeat hit us all,” the batsman said.

Hafeez, however, insisted that he wouldn’t blame anyone for the defeat as they played as a unit throughout the tournament.

“Overall, we did well getting that far and if we lost, it was as a team and if we won it was as a team so we need to share everything as a team,” he added.

Misbah-ul-Haq, who was criticised for not rotating the strike and adding up to the pressure of chasing, said after the Twenty20 World Cup final defeat to India in 2007, the Mohali defeat was among his worst days in cricket.

“Nothing clicked for us in the batting and what disappointed everyone was that we had them under pressure for the best part of the match.

“They felt the pressure more than us while batting as was evident by the way even someone like Tendulkar batted and gave chances which we should have taken,” he insisted.

Riaz appreciated the Mohali crowdm saying they cheered the good show put up by the Pakistani cricketers and also wished him well after the match.

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