The humiliating defeat to India still rankles Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. It's tough for him to forget how captain Sarfaraz Ahmed's decision to bat second against India played a role in Pakistan losing the crucial match at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in Manchester.
Expectations were high when another India vs Pakistan clash at the mega event a month ago. However, it turned out to be a one-sided affair as Rohit Sharma's 140 guided India to an 89-run (DLS method) victory. Things didn't go well for Sarfaraz and Co. right from the moment they won the toss and elected to field first.
Prior to the game, former Pakistan cricketer had adviced Sarfaraz to bowl first. Imran had clearly mentioned that unless the pitch was damp, Pakistan should bat first after winning the toss. But Sarfaraz had other plans and his move backfired severely. The defeat continued Pakistan's winless run over India in World Cups.
It's been a couple of months since that defeat but Imran took a dig at Sarfaraz for not taking the advice seriously. “You win the toss and bat – don’t bat second. This is a mindset. You will have this dilemma throughout life,” Khan was quoted as saying during an event.
Imran Khan "the fear of losing makes you have a completely different strategy, negative and defensive. Like recently in the World Cup our captain did; after winning the toss, you choose to bat, not put the other team in to bat. This is all about mindset" #Cricket pic.twitter.com/WbOxgA2mzK
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) August 27, 2019
The Prime Minister was addressing students of the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute about the importance of the approach one adopts while entering a competition and used Pakistan's World Cup campaign as an example.
Pakistan bowlers were out-muscled by a great partnership between Rohit and KL Rahul. The duo troubled Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz for more than 23 overs and put on an impressive 136-run stand.
India put up a total of 336 for five in 50 overs. In reply, Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and lost the clash rather tamely.
After the match, Sarfaraz received a lot of flak. Pakistan, however, recovered and won their last four matches on the trot but it was a little too late to qualify for the semi-finals.