India maintained their unbeaten run in World Cups over arch-rivals Pakistan with a convincing 89-run (DLS) win at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday. India has now beaten Pakistan in all of their seven meetings in the showpiece event. It was indeed a lop-sided contest as some outstanding batting from the top-order batsmen propelled India to a big total of 336/5 in their 50 overs. In reply, only Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam showed some fight back and by the time it started raining, it was a mere formality to just play out their overs, after a revised target of 302 in 40 overs, for the 1992 champions.
The Pakistani team faced a lot of backlash from their fans, media and former cricketing greats for their lacklustre performance against arch-rivals India. However, despite all the harsh criticisms, Sarfaraz Ahmed and his side can now take some heart as the tournament progresses.
According to media reports, Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed had received a phone call from Ehsan Mani, who is the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on Tuesday and the latter told him that he has got the support of the entire nation. Mani also told Sarfaraz to ignore all the unnecessary criticisms that he and the players of his team were subject to after their disappointing loss on Sunday. The former ICC President also added that the country is expecting an improved performance in their upcoming matches.
Sarfaraz was criticized by former Pakistani fast bowling great Shoaib Akhtar, who had termed his captaincy as 'Brainless'. He was also criticized for winning the toss and bowling first much against Pakistan Prime Minister and 1992 World Cup-winning skipper Imran Khan's advice of batting first. To make matters worse, the Champions Trophy-winning captain was brutally trolled on social media for yawning during the end of the first innings.
Pakistan have managed just one win in their five matches so far and are placed at the ninth position in the points table. Their solitary win came against the hosts and title favourites England. One of their match against Sri Lanka was washed out due to rain without a ball being bowled and they suffered losses against West Indies, reigning World Champions Australia and India respectively.
Pakistan will now face South Africa at Lord's on June 23.