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Pakistan Coach Gary Kirsten Admits to Excessive Pressure After Nail-Biting Loss to India

Following a tense six-run defeat to India in their ICC T20 World Cup clash, Pakistan head coach Gary Kirsten acknowledged that his team succumbed to excessive pressure during their run-chase. The low-scoring thriller, played at a packed Nassau County Stadium, was a testament to the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket, often dominated by high scores and boundary-hitting.

India, having set a modest target of 120 runs, emerged victorious largely due to Jasprit Bumrah’s miserly three-wicket haul and Rishabh Pant’s crucial counter-attacking knock. Pant’s 42 off 31 balls, embellished with six fours, and Bumrah’s 3/14 in four overs were pivotal in India’s narrow win, which keeps their World Cup campaign alive and thriving.

In the post-match press conference, Kirsten reflected on his team’s performance and the challenges they faced. “Pretty much spot-on,” he said, referring to the pressure the players felt. “These guys are all international players and they are aware that when they are not performing at their best there is going to be pressure put on them. That is understandable, but a lot of these guys have played a lot of T20 cricket around the world over many, many years and it is really up to them to decide how they are going to take their games forward.”

Kirsten noted the playing conditions at Nassau County Stadium, describing the surface as tricky but not dangerous. “It generally kept a little bit lower. I think we were able to score for both batting sides and also a fairly slow outfield, so it was never going to be a big total. I would have said 140 would have been a really good score on that pitch. So, India did not get that so I thought we had the game.”

The coach elaborated on the strategy during the chase. “The message was to look for an odd boundary, punish the loose deliveries, and rotate the strike well. We kept it at a run a ball, and then we lost wickets and then we stopped scoring ones and then we were looking for boundaries. Once you have got to that point, it was always going to be hard. So, the message was to do what we executed on for 15 overs.”

Kirsten emphasized the importance of strike rotation on such surfaces. “On a surface like this, it is important to rotate the strike well. Sometimes it is fun to watch a game like this where it is not only about hitting boundaries, but you also have to be able to use 120 balls really well. As I said, we did for 15 overs and then we lost the plot.”

Kirsten expressed satisfaction with the team’s bowling performance, highlighting it as a positive aspect of the match. “We have got four fantastic seamers and Imad Wasim I thought bowled really well today as well. So, we have got some nice options on the ball with the team and I think we are going to be a difficult team to bat against if we bowl like that.”

Also See: Pakistan Cricket Schedule 2024, Upcoming Matches and Series List

However, the batting unit’s inability to maintain partnerships and avoid losing wickets was a concern. “We did really nicely in the last game against the USA where Shadab Khan and Babar put on a partnership of 70 when we were 26 for 3. But period, we are losing too many wickets. As a batting unit, you cannot lose as many wickets as we are losing. Players have got to take responsibility when that opportunity comes.”

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