Pakistan’s fortress is here. In 2017-18, here is where they rose to the top. This is where these exiled young men grew up. We’re just four days into the Super-12s, but they’ve already established themselves as the team to beat. They have bowlers on hand. They’ve got the depth. They’re using the blueprint from the United Arab Emirates. As I, Vineet Anantharaman, sign off on behalf of Pradeep Krishnamurthy, Raju Peethala, Hari Sadanandan, and our scorer, Mukesh Gowda, I hope you enjoyed reading us throughout the day. Ta ta!! Until tomorrow, and Abu Dhabi!!
It feels amazing to win, and we’ll try to keep the momentum going. The spinners got off to a great start, and Haris and Shaheen kept it going. I’d want to commend our fielding, which has gotten us this far. We gave 10 runs too much, in my opinion. However, this is cricket, and things happen. Early on in our batting innings, we lost wickets, and we needed a partnership. Malik demonstrated his expertise, while Asif Ali also contributed. Every game is critical. There isn’t a simple match. We’ll take it one day at a time, game by game.
It’s quite disappointing. At the midway point, we were optimistic. It was going to be really difficult; we were just a notch or two over average. We had limited margins, yet we couldn’t get it right in the end. Pakistan deserves credit for being a powerful and intelligent team. For 80 percent of the game, I thought our bowlers were excellent. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. We were leading heading into the second half, but this is a very talented Pakistani squad to keep an eye on. We’ll play India at a different stadium since it’s a game of tight margins. We’ll talk about it and play accordingly. There were a few decent choices, but the margins in these low-scoring games are razor-thin.
I am pleased with the performance, and I appreciate the squad, the fielding unit, who backed up the bowlers, the support staff, and the spectators for their unwavering support. In the bowling unit, there is competition; I, Shaheen, and Hasan Ali have been playing together for two years. We converse with one another, appraise the situation, and gain trust in one another. Guptill’s wicket in the powerplay was the finest of the four wickets. I’m grateful to everyone, especially my family and the Lahore Qalandars for their support; it’s because of them that I’m here today.
Just to stress, this does not feel Pakistani. They’ve been very, very clinical, and even when the Kiwis put them on the back foot, they dealt with it very, very smartly, without going deep. And now, their entire team is standing in the centre, taking a picture. Let’s not forget that, unlike the previous night in Dubai, there wasn’t much dew to help. Babar and Rizwan got off to a good start, but it wasn’t a flyer by any means. Fakhar couldn’t seem to get moving. And Sodhi did certainly cause a fright with a handful of his off-breaks. Malik was also fairly scratchy at first. But it was those two awful slower deliveries from Southee in the slot that allowed Asif Ali to smoke away and secure the deal. Santner also didn’t assist New Zealand’s case by bowling a sloppy 18th over. Now it’s time for the presentations to begin.