Facing a crucial juncture in their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign, Pakistan is determined to regain their winning momentum as they take on South Africa in their sixth match. Their journey began with impressive victories against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka in Hyderabad, but it was followed by a challenging phase of three consecutive defeats.
What sets this Pakistani side apart is their resilience and their knack for turning adversity into triumph. They showcased their mettle by staging a remarkable comeback in Australia last year, reaching the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Moreover, they scripted a fairytale victory in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England despite a rocky start to the tournament.
Mickey Arthur, the team director, remains optimistic about Pakistan’s chances in the tournament. He expressed his belief that Pakistan can turn the tide, saying, “We said in the change room the other night that we have got six matches to win the World Cup. We have to get on a streak and win six in a row. We know that as a unit, we have to make sure we get our strategy 100%. We have to make sure that we get our execution 100%, and if we do that, there is no reason why we cannot win the World Cup.”
The recent shock defeat to Afghanistan at MA Chidambaram Stadium was a setback, following losses to India and Australia in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru, respectively. While there have been glimpses of brilliance, Arthur emphasized the need for Pakistan to excel in all aspects of the game to solidify their qualification chances for the semi-finals.
“I don’t think our skills have been where they’ve needed to be in those last three games, but these players have got the skills. It is up to us as coaches to make sure that we get them firing come Friday by giving them the confidence and the belief that they can turn this around,” Arthur said.
“We have not put a game together yet. We have not played the complete game. It is up to us to delve, to dig, to give advice, to give information and to give the belief that we can put that perfect game together because we know our perfect game is good enough. Our perfect game is good enough to beat anybody.”
He stressed the importance of finding their form and executing their skills effectively under pressure, a focus of their continuous practice.
South Africa enters the competition with four wins in five matches, making them a formidable opponent. However, Arthur believes that by adhering to the basics and maintaining discipline, Pakistan can rise to the challenge. He stated, “They are a very good cricket team and they’re full of confidence because they have played well. I know though that if we do our basics and disciplines right, our skills will come out, and we can beat anybody.” Pakistan’s hopes are high as they gear up for a crucial clash in their quest for World Cup glory.
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