ANI Photo | “We were pained, felt hurt after loss to India, but morale is high”: Pakistan batter Iftikhar ahead of Zimbabwe clash

Perth [Australia], October 26 (ANI): Pakistan batter Iftikhar Ahmed has said his side is “feeling the pain and hurt” after loss to India in their opening T20 World Cup match which went down to the wire and which was won by the Men in Blue from a very difficult position.
Pakistan will take on Zimbabwe in their Group 2, Super 12 match of ICC T20 World Cup at Perth on Thursday. Pakistan are in fifth place in the points table with no points while Zimbabwe are fourth with one point after a rain-abandoned match against South Africa.
“It always hurts you a bit after losing such a big match. We cannot pretend that nothing happened… no, it really hurts. After all, we are representing more than 200 to 250 million people here. Therefore, we are all feeling the pain,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Ahmed as saying.
“(Babar) told us that it was not our last game. That it (the match) is over, and we all put in our best effort. The captain and the management have supported us. Our morale is high and we are confident as always,” he added.
After defeat in a thriller in presence of a rapturous crowd at Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the match having been watched by cricket fans across the world, Pakistan captain Babar Azam had a difficult task of addressing his crestfallen players in the dressing room.
Following the loss to India, some players lay slumped, some had their hands on their heads and some were just trying to process what had transpired. In his brief remarks, Babar Azam sought to lift the morale of players.
Pakistan are expected to regroup as they face Zimbabwe. Haris Rauf got battering in key over from Virat Kohli but he is a key bowler for his team.

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“Haris is our main strike bowler and we expect him to bowl better here and win it for Pakistan. The Australian pitches are fast and bouncy and we have prepared for that,” said Iftikhar.
The 32-year-old is trying to strengthen his gameplay on such bouncy surfaces by focusing on mastering sweep and reverse sweep shots. After pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh took quick powerplay wickets at MCG, Ahmed steadied Pakistan’s ship along with Shan Masood and both scored key fifties.
“People say I do not play sweep and reverse, so I am also trying to master these shots. Sweep and reverse sweep will be key shots on these pitches because of the bounce here. My role in the team is to stay long at the crease after we lose a wicket. My role is to take stock and then attack,” said the batter.
Iftikhar said that getting runs against big teams raises morale and he will carry forward the confidence received from his half-century against the Men in Blue.
“Every match is a new game and the effort will be to give my 100 per cent for the team,” he said.
Pakistan’s defeat to arch-rivals India at an early stage has left them with very little room for error.
Though they are favourites against Zimbabwe, Pakistan will not take their opponents lightly.
“Zimbabwe is an international team and we have to play strong against them like any other team. It is important to play well…the players are hungry to perform. We are trying to prepare for the next game, come back strong and remain in contention for this World Cup,” he added.(ANI)

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This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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