Pakistan 'grateful' for India wake-up call ahead of World Cup


Colombo, Sept. 13: Pakistan's heavy defeat to India in the Asia Cup was a "timely reminder" for the team to get their act together before next month's World Cup, head coach Grant Bradburn said.

Babar Azam's men suffered a crushing 228-run loss to India on Monday in a rain-hit Super Four clash of the 50-over tournament, a prelude to next month's World Cup in India.

India posted 356-2 in Colombo after rain forced the match into a reserve day and then bowled out Pakistan for 128 in 32 overs to register their biggest ODI victory over their arch-rivals. "My gut feeling is that we are grateful for the gift that has been this last two days," Bradburn told reporters after the drubbing.

"We don't get to play some of the best players in the world very often," he added.

"We haven't lost a game of cricket for the last three months, so it's a timely reminder that we need to turn up every day, put in our best on the park, and it's actually a gift in the last two days we haven't done that."

Pakistan elected to bowl after Azam won the toss but the team soon lost their grip after a 121-run opening stand between skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul hit 122 and 111 respectively to extend India's domination in an unbeaten stand of 233. "We lost at all facets of the game," Bradburn said. "No excuses, we weren't good enough in the last two days."

Pakistan's bowling, led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, had rattled India's top order last week in an Asia Cup group game, bowling them out for 266 before the match was abandoned because of rain.

But Rohit, Gill, Rahul and Kohli came roaring back in the Super Four contest to take the attack to the bowlers. Bradburn, a former New Zealand international who played seven Tests and 11 ODIs, said Pakistan will learn from the batting assault.

"Certainly wasn't a surprise. Everyone's seen how lethal our bowling attack is and good teams will counteract that," he said.

Azam started the tournament with 151 against minnows Nepal but Bradburn said Pakistan's batting still lacked firepower.

"Our batting unit hasn't clicked in the past month and again, that is a positive sign," he said. "We have full trust in them. We are very consistent with our selection. We know they will come right."

Pakistan next play Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Dahani and Zaman called up as backups 

Pakistan called up fast bowlers Shahnawaz Dahani and Zaman Khan as backups for the Asia Cup after Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah picked up niggles during the 228-run defeat to India on Monday in the Super Four stage of the tournament.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said that team management in Colombo will "only request replacement" from the technical committee of the Asian Cricket Council if both Haris and Naseem were ruled out for the next seven days.

Haris and Naseem will remain under the observation of the team's medical panel while Dahani and Zaman will join the team as backups for the rest of the tournament.

The PCB said Haris felt "a little discomfort in his right flank" on Sunday — when he returned figures of 0-27 in five overs against India — before rain forced the game into the reserve day when he didn't take the field. India posted a massive 356-2 on the back of unbeaten centuries from Virat Kohli and K.L. Rahul. Pakistan was all out for 128 in reply.

Naseem went off the field late during India's innings on Monday with an injury to his bowling shoulder. He had 0-53 in 9.2 overs.

Haris and Naseem didn't bat against India.

Pakistan, which plays Sri Lanka on Thursday, beat Bangladesh last week in the first Super Four game. (AFP)

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