London, June 24 (IANS) Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was all praise for left-handed batsman Haris Sohail for his Jos Buttler-style batting against South Africa during his side’s 49-run victory in their crucial World Cup fixture at the Lord’s.
Included for Sunday’s game in place of experienced Shoaib Malik, Haris instantly proved his mettle and played a brilliant knock of 59-ball 89 — which consisted of nine fours and three sixes – thus helping Pakistan post 308/7 in their 50 overs.
In reply, none of the Proteas batter expect skipper Faf du Plessis (63 off 79) could handle the scoreboard pressure and were eventually restricted to 259/9. The loss meant South Africa are now out of the contention of making it to the semi-finals of the ongoing tournament.
“Haris Sohail put in a great performance. We changed the combination in this game. Couple of games earlier, we went with other combination. That’s the only thing. Sometimes change is good for the team. Today the way Haris batted, he is hungry to play in the game. He’s the main factor, the turning point, the way he batted in the last 15 overs, it was like Jos Buttler,” said Sarfaraz at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Haris, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, said he just backed his instincts during the course of his innings and it paid off.
“It’s tough when you’re sitting out and waiting for your turn. My goal was to make the most of my opportunities. When I went in, I was told I have to build a partnership with Babar (Azam), but it wasn’t easy out there… I just backed myself,” said the left-handed batsman.
Meanwhile, Sarfaraz was critical of his team’s fielding as they dropped catches during the Proteas’ chase. Left-arm pacer Mohammed Amir himself dropped three catches. However, to Pakistan’s luck, those dropped chances didn’t have any bearing on the result as they kept their hopes alive of making it to the last-four stage.
“We have to work harder on fielding. Again we dropped so many catches today. All three matches now are very crucial and we have to sort it out,” said Sarfaraz.
With five points from six games, Pakistan are now at the seventh spot in the points table. They will next face New Zealand on Wednesday. After that, they play Afghanistan and Bangladesh on Saturday and July 5, respectively.