Leeds: "It was a full team effort," gushed Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed after his side pulled off a dramatic three-wicket win to stay alive in the race for the World Cup semifinals, here Saturday.
There were contributions from Babar Azam (45) and Imam-ul Haq (36) at the top order while chasing a modest 228 but it required a special innings from Imad Wasim, who took the side to finish line with an unbeaten 49-run knock under pressure.
"It is a great win for us. Not an easy pitch to bat on, but credit goes to Imad - the way he batted, the way he handled pressure, hats off to him. We knew it was not an easy chase, their bowlers used the conditions very well," said Sarfaraz after Pakistan jumped to fourth spot in the table.
"Babar and Imam played very well, we needed a partnership in the middle that didn't happen, but we got it in the end. A full team effort. We all knew it's not an easy task in the World Cup, but we took it match by match," he said.
The Pakistan skipper also praised left-arm paceman Shaheen Afridi, who again returned a four-wicket haul.
"Shaheen is improving day by day, he's working very hard. The other bowlers also bowled really well. All are in good nick," he said adding that now they keen an eye on India-England game since if the hosts lose, Pakistan will have a better chance to make it to the last-four.
Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib admitted the fluffed chances cost them the game.
"We fought very well and gave 100% but in the end we missed an opportunity to win the match. But credit goes to Pakistan. Imad played really well and Shadab gave him the strike well. We're playing these kind of teams, so you'll face these situations.
"Bad luck for us today, Hamid Hasan was injured. The wicket was slow and turning, credit to Nabi, Mujeeb, Rashid and Sami also. But we missed Hamid."
Naib said his batsmen need to score big knocks.
"I said at the start of the tournament 30-40 is not enough, you need 60-70 or 100, then you can put a good total. Eeach batsman, including me, should go one step forward. We are learning a lot, so hopefully we'll do well in the future. Thank you to the tremendous crowd here," he concluded.
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