Imran blames `terrible` fielding for Pakistan`s loss

Last Updated: Mar 31, 2011, 15:37 PM IST

New Delhi: Former captain Imran Khan lashed out at Pakistan players for their "terrible" work in the field and said that a team cannot afford to win a match by dropping a player like Sachin Tendulkar four times.

Pakistan dropped Tendulkar four times, allowing the champion batsman to play a knock of 85, which helped India eke out a 29-run win over the arch-rivals in the semi-final of the World Cup in Mohali.

"No team deserves to win the way Pakistan fielded," Imran said. "You cannot drop a player like Sachin four times. And don`t forget the ground fielding," he said. Billed as the match to watch out for in the ongoing quadrennial extravaganza, the legendary all-rounder said that players from both sides felt the pressure.

"This was the ultimate pressure game. The Indian batting felt the pressure, except for (Virender) Sehwag, and at the end Suresh Raina. Apart from that, everybody felt the pressure. "Pakistan bowlers, except the two -- Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal and, I think, Mohammad Hafeez too, felt the pressure. The others, especially Umar Gul (wilted under pressure)," Imran said.

Despite a good start by openers Kamran Akmal and Hafeez, Pakistan failed to make a match out of it. "The batting, after that brilliant start, just could not handle the pressure. With the fall of each wicket, Pakistan began to crumble, and halfway through, we knew the game was over."

Talking further about the role of fielding in such high-pressure games, Imran said, "If you are anyway bad and under pressure, you will wilt completely." According to Wasim Akram, another former captain, it was 70-30 in favour of Pakistan at the start of second innings. "After seeing the score, I was giving 70 per cent chances to Pakistan. It was all psychological but we know Pakistan`s track record. They struggle to chase. And they were suddenly losing wickets and the ball was stopping. Younis Khan was not making runs and, as our main batsman, he did not score well in this World Cup.

PTI