Bagai praises Afridi`s match-winning effort

Colombo: Canada skipper Ashish Bagai has praised Pakistani counterpart Shahid Afridi for his brilliant second five-wicket haul of the tournament which dashed their hopes of an upset World Cup win in a Group A match.

Afridi returned with figures of five for 23 from his 10 overs, including four wickets off just 17 deliveries in his second spell, to help Pakistan snatch a hard-fought 46-run win over the Canadians.

"We started off with the approach of trying to milk him for 30-35 runs, but once he gets wickets he gets right on top of you. He gets his variations going and then it gets harder and harder," Bagai said.

Canadian bowlers had conjured up hopes of an upset win on Thursday after bowling out mighty Pakistan for 184 but their batsmen falter and Bagai blamed his batters for missing out on a historic chance to create an upset win.

Bagai refused to play the minnow’s card and candidly accepted that the batsmen should have finished the job against a strong Pakistani bowling attack at R Premadasa stadium.

"There is no point to playing cricket if you don`t think you can win the game and at no point do we think we can`t but unfortunately our batting has let us down tremendously and it`s very disappointing. After getting Pakistan out for 184 with a tremendous effort, it was disappointing not win the match.”

"The six bowlers did a fantastic job and it was a decent fielding effort but sadly our batting worries continue," said Bagai.

Canada has now lost all their three matches and is placed second from bottom of Group A, with only the equally hapless Kenya below them. They were first beaten by Sri Lanka by a huge margin of 210 runs while Zimbabwe defeated them by 175 runs in the second game.

Bagai had been hoping that Ireland`s sensational victory against formidable England could have inspired his team, but once again their batting looked ordinary.

"Ireland`s win was a good advertisement for cricket and for associate teams. It was inspiring, a good answer to the critics. There was a bit of belief for us, and there always is coming into games," he added.

Pakistan will now travel to Pallekele to take on New Zealand on Tuesday in their fourth World Cup outing while Canada faces fellow minnows Kenya in New Delhi on the same day.


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