October 3, 2022
Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq defends team’s T20 style after Asia Cup final loss


Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq on Sunday defended his team’s Twenty20 style of play after losing the Asia Cup final, saying they are on the right track for next month’s T20 World Cup. Babar Azam’s team failed to chase down 171 runs to beat Sri Lanka, their 23-run defeat reversing the winning trend of the teams batting second in Dubai. Mohammad Rizwan scored 55 off 49 balls for Pakistan and finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with 281 runs in six innings.

But Saqlain was not bothered by Rizwan’s sluggish strike rate of 117.57 runs per hundred balls in the high-octane format.

In comparison, Virat Kohli scored 276 runs in his five innings for India, over 147.59.

Saqlain said, ‘Everyone has their own style of playing cricket.

“We made it to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup (last year) and now the final of the Asia Cup, so the evidence shows that we are doing something right.

“We’ve done that with our playing style, and instead of following the style of the rest of the cricket playing nations, things that are yet to be worked out will be worked out.”

Babar, a prolific scorer for the team before the tournament, could manage only 68 runs in six matches with the highest score of 30, but Saqlain lost in the opener.

“As I said earlier, anyone with a keen eye for cricket will feel that he is unlucky with the way he is getting out,” Saqlain said.

“The way he plays and his work ethic needs no more discussion. He is a world class player and may God protect him from evil eye.”

The 27-year-old Babar, who has scored 2,754 runs in 80 Twenty20 Internationals at an average of over 42, recently lost his number one T20 world ranking to fellow opener Rizwan.

Babar’s final dismissal in the tournament came with a loose blow down the leg side, caught at short-fine leg by fast bowler Pramod Madushan, who took four wickets.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa extended Sri Lanka’s fight to an indefinite 170-6 at 58-5 and then bowlers, including Vanindu Hasaranga, bowled out Pakistan for 147.

Hasaranga returned figures of 3-27 with his leg-spin after scoring 36 runs in a crucial partnership with left-arm Rajapaksa.

Saqlain praised champions Sri Lanka for their perfect performance in the final, having defeated Pakistan, India and Afghanistan in the first Super Four stage.

“Sri Lanka batted second and then batted first against us and became champions. Well deserved,” Saqlain said.

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“We played the first nine overs of really good cricket and after that he played about 31 overs and dominated us in all aspects of batting, bowling and fielding.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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