Pakistan loses 6th straight to India at Cricket World Cup
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Sohail Khan dropped to his knees, celebrating a five-wicket haul that had the potential to get Pakistan back into the contest against defending champion India at the World Cup.
Despite the late fightback he led to contain India to 300-7 on Sunday at the Adelaide Oval, though, Pakistan slumped to a 76-run defeat — its sixth straight World Cup loss to archrival India in a streak that dates back to 1992.
The makeshift fixes in the lineup to cover for injuries backfired, with part-time wicketkeeper Umar Akmal dropping a regulation chance against Virat Kohli when the India batsman was on 76 and veteran Younis Khan (6) becoming the first Pakistani batsman out with the total at 11 in a run-chase that never really got going.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who took two catches, completed a run-out with a direct hit to remove dangerous Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan and then top-scored with 76, was at a loss to explain how Pakistan had managed to lose to India for the sixth time at the biggest event in the 50-over format.
“It’s now we have to look forward,” he said. “It’s really important this tournament, really have to focus on the next one to get momentum back and get confidence back.”
The last time the World Cup was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, Pakistan lost to India in the group stage but recovered to win the title in ’92 for the only time, beating England in the final.
So Misbah, rightly, is trying to focus on what lies ahead — a match against the West Indies in New Zealand on Saturday in the short term. All the extra emphasis on the grudge match with India, and all the geopolitical accessories that go with it, has to be forgotten.
The India match “is gone now,” Misbah said. “Every game we lose is hard, especially in the World Cups. It’s important for us to just concentrate on the games which we are going to play, because if you just keep on thinking about the game that is gone, then it’s really difficult for you to just perform well. That’s the only way to stay in the tournament.”
There were positives for Pakistan, mainly in the form of the spirited bowling comeback led by Sohail Khan. India only scored 27 runs in the last five overs, and lost its last four wickets for 16.
Sohail Khan did most of the damage, breaking up the important 110-run third-wicket partnership between Kohli (107) and Suresh Raina (74). He had Kohli caught behind in the 46th over, and quickly removed Raina as well. In the last over, with India on 296-5 and determined to get as far beyond 300 as possible, he dismissed India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18) and bowled Ajinkya Rahane for a duck to return 5-55. He became the first Pakistan bowler to take a five-wicket haul on his World Cup debut, and had every right to celebrate hard.
The batsmen couldn’t carry the momentum, though, with only Ahmed Shehzad (47), Haris Sohail (36) and Misbah sticking around for a decent length of time — three wickets for one run in the space of nine balls cost Pakistan dearly as they slumped to 103-5.
“I think bowlers did very well in the last session, especially the last 10, 15 overs,” Misbah said. “It was looking that (India) were going to score 340, 350, but then I think they pulled them really back.
“I think 300 was pretty much chase-able ... but we just lost wickets on a regular basis, and three wickets went just like in six, seven bowls. That really hurt us. After that, it was all over.”