Pakistan Coach Saqlain Mushtaq Defends Team’s T20 Style After Asia Cup Final Defeat

Pakistani coach Saqlain Mushtaq defended his team’s Twenty20 playing style after losing Sunday’s Asia Cup final, saying they were on track for next month’s T20 World Cup. Babar Azam’s squad failed to chase 171 to beat Sri Lanka, their 23 point defeat going against the trend of teams winning while being beaten second in Dubai. Mohammad Rizwan made 55 in 49 balls for Pakistan and finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 281 runs in six innings.

But Saqlain wasn’t worried about Rizwan’s slow hitting rate of 117.57 runs per hundred balls in the high-octane format.

In comparison, Virat Kohli scored 276 runs for India with a faster 147.59 in his five innings.

“Everyone has their own style of playing cricket,” Saqlain said.

“We made it to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup (last year) and now the Asian Cup final, so there are indications that we are doing something right.

“We’ve done that with our style of play, and the things that still need to be done will be worked on, rather than following the style of the rest of the cricket-playing countries.”

Babar, a prolific goalscorer for the team before the tournament, scored just 68 runs in six games with a top of 30, but Saqlain was able to overcome the opener’s loss of form.

“As I said before, anyone with a deep eye for cricket will realize that he is unlucky with the way he comes out,” said Saqlain.

“The way he plays and his work ethic need no further discussion. He is a world-class player and God saves him from the evil eye.”

27-year-old Babar, who has scored 2,754 runs in 80 Twenty20 internationals averaging over 42, recently lost his number one T20 world ranking to fellow opener Rizwan.

Babar’s final dismissal from the tournament came with a loose move down the leg side to be caught on a short, fine leg from fast bowler Pramod Madushan, who claimed four wickets.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka’s fight back from a precarious 58-5 to a post of 170-6, after which the bowlers including Wanindu Hasaranga knocked out Pakistan for 147.

Hasaranga returned 3-27 with his leg spin after crushing 36 in a key partnership with left-handed Rajapaksa.

Saqlain praised champions Sri Lanka, who previously defeated Pakistan, India and Afghanistan in the Super Four stage, for their full performance in the final.

β€œSri Lanka batted second and then batted first against us and became champions. Well deserved,” said Saqlain.


“We just played the first nine overs of really good cricket and then they played almost 31 overs and dominated us in all aspects — in batting, bowling and fielding.”

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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