Gary Kirsten.
Gary Kirsten. Image Credit: X

The Pakistan head coach Gary Kirsten believes that the main reason behind the poor result of their six-run defeat in the hands of arch-rivals India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, in New York has been because of their ‘poor decisions’ as a team. It was quite bizarre how the 2009 champion found a way of losing the game from a winning position.

Winning the toss under grey skies, Babar Azam invited India to bat first, as Rohit Sharma nailed a six in the very first over of the game against Shaheen Shah Afridi. Virat Kohli returned to the hit quite early, followed by Rohit, but Rishabh Pant’s fruitful knock stabilized India in the middle to reach 89/3 in 11 overs.

But the Indian side lost the plot from thereon with the dismissal of Pant, as they saw the back of their last seven wickets for just 30 runs on the board, and got bowled out for a paltry 119. The bowlers kept the pressure on from the very first over, as Mohammad Rizwan kept on playing the dot balls.

‘You make mistakes like that; you are going to pay’- Gary Kirsten

No matter how good India has been, at 72/2 in 12 overs, and 48 runs required at run-a-ball, and with the likes of power-hitter, as they call in Pakistan cricket, waiting in the dressing room, one could still feel that the batters would do the job anyway. But then came Jasprit Bumrah, who opened the channel with the wicket of Rizwan, and suddenly the runners-up of the last season couldn’t breathe at all.

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113/7 was their final score in 20 overs, which means that the inaugural champions of the tournament gave away only 56/6 in the last 10 overs, even under the sun, which helped the pitch a little bit, to erase lateral movement early on.

Gary Kirsten admitted that they had the game for about ’35 to 40 overs’ before Bumrah commended the calmness of the bowling unit of the opponent side for using the conditions pretty well.

“Disappointing loss, that’s for sure. I knew 120 was not going to be an easy target. If India got only 120, it was always going to be not the easiest. But I think we had the game at 72 for 2 with six or seven overs left. Disappointing not to get across the line from the position we got ourselves into,” Pakistan head coach Gary Kirsten expressed at the end of the game.

When he was asked at what point he believed the game slipped out of the and, the former South Africa opening batter pointed the ‘decision-making’ and how rough their game awareness was in the afternoon.

“Decision-making. Maybe not so great decision making. You have got the game on, run a ball, eight wickets in hand, decision making at that point. That’s the game. That’s international cricket for you. You make mistakes like that; you are going to pay.

“I thought we made some poor decisions at important phases of the game. I thought Rizwan played well for us. We knew it was going to be a tough wicket to bat on. We managed the chase very well but then just let it slip in the end,” Former Protea coach Gary Kirsten remarked.

When Rizwan was at the crease, he played around 20-dot balls, and once Bumrah came for his one-over spell, there was no need to slog him on the very first ball. Gary Kirsten spoke about how he needs some time to get the best out of the players.

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“Everyone is responsible. We accept the loss and we take the heat because the team has not done well. And we will do what we can to try and rectify it. I have been here for 12 days so it is a new journey for me understanding the players that are going to win games for Pakistan, which is what you are looking for,” 56-year-old reflected.

The Cape Town-born also knows the fact how they need to depend on the other teams now to qualify for the next stage of the tournament.

“Obviously we have got to play a lot better cricket than we are playing. It just comes down to executing our skills together as batters and bowlers. We had that game for 35 of the 40 overs. We played good cricket; we did everything we needed to,” Gary Kirsten concluded.

Pakistan will take on Canada now at the same ground on June 11.