KOLKATA: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has insisted that the team has developed a plan to overtake New Zealand’s net run rate (NRR) during their last ICC World Cup 2023 match against England to secure a sport in the semi-finals.
Pakistan is currently 5th on the points table and will need to beat England by 288 or more runs if they want to surpass New Zealand on NRR and qualify for the semis. However, the scenario has made it virtually impossible for the team to qualify.
Speaking a day before the game on Friday, Babar said that the team wants to finish the tournament on a high and insisted that surpassing the net-run rate is also on their mind and they’ve planned for it.
“It’s not like that that this matter is not in the back of the mind. It's in our mind and we will try to do it. We will try to execute our plans and how we will go tomorrow (Saturday) and how we will achieve the target,” he said.
“We can't just go in and start firing blindly — we want that but with proper planning, how we want to play the first 10 overs, then the next 20 — how we have to achieve that target,” Babar added.
The Pakistan captain said that Fakhar Zaman's presence will be a key factor for Green Shirts in their attempt to achieve what is required from the team against England.
“There are a lot of things in this, like partnership, which player will stay on the pitch for how long. If you ask me, I would say if Fakhar is in the match for 20 or 30 overs, we can achieve that. Then follow up with Rizwan, Iftikhar. We can do this and we have planned for this,” the Pakistan captain said.
Replying to a question, the skipper said that he believes that the game against South Africa cost Pakistan and that they should have won that match as well as the game against Afghanistan.
“But unfortunately, we didn't win and that’s why we are at this stage,” he said.
When asked what has let Pakistan down in the tournament, Babar refused to blame anyone and instead said that the team couldn’t deliver as a unit.
The Pakistan captain further said that they’ll try to learn from the mistakes they committed during the tournament.
“You cannot say that it is the fault of bowling, fielding, or batting. As a team, we could not execute. We cannot say that we got so many runs in bowling or lost runs in fielding. As a team we did not execute the plan or play as per the demand – that includes bowling, batting, and fielding.” he said.
"I have seen that the margin of error is very low here because when you give even a little room to any team, they take the match from you. This is the speciality of the World Cup. It's a high-intensity game. You have a match against every team, so they are high-intensity games. I think the whole team should learn from the mistakes,” he added.
Babar also rejected the concerns about his captaincy and said that he never felt under pressure because of the added responsibility of being captain of the side.
“I have been captaining my team for the last three years and I have never felt this way.”
“It’s just because I have not performed the way I should have in the World Cup, that’s why people are saying that I am under pressure. I am under no pressure. I have been doing this for the last 2.5 or 3 years. I was the one who was performing and I was the one who was the captain. I was applying the same thing,” Babar said.
“It depends how you take such thing. Everyone has their own point of view, their own way of thinking. Everyone is saying something different. He should be like this, or like that. If someone has to give me advice, everyone has my number. It is easy to give advice on TV. If you want to give me some advice, you can message me,” he said while taking a dig at critics of his captaincy.
“Once we go back to Pakistan or after this match, we will see what happens. But right now, I am not focusing on this, my focus is on the next match,” Babar said in response to another question about his captaincy.
Replying to a question, Babar said that he and his team got a lot of love and support in India.
He added that he always tried to finish the match for the team on a positive note and personal milestones were never in his sight.
"The main thing was to make the team win. The performance that helps the team, not my individual performance. I played slow, I played fast, depending on the situation. I play according to the situation and according to what my team need,” Babar said.
“Sometimes you have to try and hang in, fight it out and take the game deep. There are three phases here. You get runs with the new ball. When you come in the middle, you have to struggle a little. But it is not that you get these same things in every venue,” the Pakistan captain said.
Babar added that the conditions in India were new to Pakistan players and they were not aware to how things would be at different venues, though he said that players adopted the conditions quickly.
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