Younus keen to see his men go all the way
Missing the hysterical laughter from the previous press conference, Pakistan skipper Younus Khan did not shy away from labelling Twenty20 as entertainment yet again as he faced the media in a post match conference.
However, with a comprehensive win under his belt, a win made possible by his senior players delivering what was asked by him, Younus has now set his sights on taking the cup home. ‘We’ve always been slow starters, the whole world knows that,’ Younis said. ‘Now that we are through to the Super Eights, showing fighting spirit at just the right time, we must now ensure we win the tournament.’
While Pakistan’s batting and bowling showed signs of considerable improvement, albeit against a weaker team that their previous opponents, the fielding still left much to be desired.
Salman Butt, who faced his captain’s wrath after a dreadful time in the field against England, was guilty of dropping another catch today before managing to hang onto a top-edged sweep. Apart from Butt’s drop, a few half chances went begging but luckily for Pakistan, they did not prove fatal.
‘We formed good partnerships, both with the bat and with the ball. However, for those achievements to matter in the end, we need to improve our ground fielding and hold onto the catches,’ emphasized Younus.
‘The simple plan is go out, bat well, bowl well and play the role that you’re been assigned in the team. We have a good momentum going into the Super Eights and we will need to ensure that we carry it forward and put it to good use.’
Pakistan went into the must-win match with two changes: Fawad Alam coming in place of Ahmed Shehzad and Sohail Tanvir replacing the injured Yasir Arafat. While Fawad’s contribution to the team was three runs and a few stops in the field, Sohail’s miserly figures of 13 runs in his three overs impressed Younus.
‘He (Sohail) has been out of form and it was essential for him to come forward and have a good match, especially considering it had become such an important match for Pakistan,’ said the captain.
‘The pitch and the conditions were suitable for him and he gave it his all and a repeat of such performance is simply what we need in order to make it through the next round.’
The destroyer-in-chief, however, was Shahid Afridi, who briefly entertained with the bat (a towering six over long-on in his 7-ball 13) but returned to haunt the Dutch batsmen.
He took three wickets in ten deliveries at one stage and his return of 4 for 11 — the fourth best figures in International Twenty20 history — was labelled by the opposing captain as the difference between a win against England and a thrashing against Pakistan.
‘We were simply unable to play him [Afridi],’ Smits said after the match. ‘Although we played Adil Rashid, the legspinner, in the previous match, it proved really difficult to bat against Afridi today and his bowling was what made the difference.’
A side looking much relaxed that the one that left The Oval on Sunday, Pakistan now have two days off before taking on Sri Lanka at the same venue on Friday afternoon in the first of three Super Eights matches.