Kolkata: Indian Under-19 opener Rishabh Pant said on Saturday they were surprised at the way Afghanistan played against them in their tri-series encounter at the Jadavpur University ground here.
Chasing India’s total of 236, Afghanistan managed to give the hosts a scare but fell short by 33 runs with 2.3 overs left to play.
“We were quite surprised with how Afghanistan played. Most teams take them lightly but they are a very good side. We made up for it at the end,” Pant said.
Pant also stressed on the fact that his side let things go in the middle overs and hence Afghanistan could get close.
“In the middle overs we were lacking the intensity on the field. We are supposed to be well knit in those situations. Next time we need to field and ball well,” the wicket-keeper, who plays for Delhi in Ranji trophy, said.
Speaking about chief coach Rahul Dravid, Pant who prefers batting in the opening slot, said: ”He (Dravid) is a batsman so he knows how we are playing. He keeps telling us to work on the process and results will follow. We are now having specific preparations working on our mistakes and he (Dravid) backs us, which gives us confidence.”
Pant, who idolises former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist, added that it is important for a glovesman nowadays to make runs.
Afghanistan captain Ihansanullah Jannat said they lost their way in the middle of the innings.
“We started off well both with the bat and the ball. But then we got lazy while fielding and we leaked runs,” Jannat said.
There was a huge contingent of Afghanistan supporters on the ground who cheered every run the visitors scored.
“I did not know so many people would turn up to support us here. Hopefully we will have more people coming in for the next few games.”
Afghanistan next play Bangladesh on Sunday.