Delighted at the turnaround, the kind of which has helped Pakistan cricket acquire legendary status over the years, skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed says his team thrives when “pushed to the corner”. Babar Azam produced a sublime century under pressure as Pakistan halted New Zealand’s unbeaten run in the World Cup with a six-wicket victory here on Wednesday. “Good to see the results today. Whenever Pakistan team is pushed to the corner, we do well,” Sarfaraz said after the win. The captain was at the receiving end of harsh criticism following his team’s initial run of defeats, which came to an end with their win over South Africa before the positive result against New Zealand.
Sarfaraz thanked the crowd at Edgbaston. He, however, felt more needs to be done on the fielding side. “Fielding is important, but we didn’t field well until today and we worked hard in our practice sessions. “It’s a great team effort. The way (Mohammad) Amir started and then Shaheen (Shah Afridi)… Shadab (Khan) in the middle overs and the way Babar and Haris (Sohail) batted. “To me Babar played one of the best innings I have seen. It’s a tricky pitch, we wanted to bat fifty overs. Credit to Haris as well for the way he handled pressure.”
Asked about the comparisons between their campaign and the one in 1992 edition, Sarfaraz said, “We are not thinking about the 1992 World Cup, we are taking game by game here. We are confident as a team and hopefully we will do well.” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson conceded his team was outplayed by a better side on the day.
“We have seen in the last three games that the surfaces have been assisting bowling and they have been mighty close games,” Williamson said.
“We were outplayed on a tough surface by a great Pakistan side today. I think there was a little more bounce than we experienced on the same surface the other day. “Pakistan put the ball in the right areas, and made life difficult for us. The fight that we gave in the middle was excellent, thanks to (Jimmy) Neesham and (Colin) de Grandhomme, to post a competitive total,” the skipper added.