Shoaib Malik felt that his team did not put up a big enough target for the 'great batting line-up' of India, and praised Virat Kohli for his match-winning knock at the Eden Gardens on Saturday. Rival captain MS Dhoni, however, sought to downplay the 11-0 record India has over Pakistan in World Cups.
Rains shortened the match at the Eden Gardens to 18 overs per innings last night, and the moisture on the pitch made it hard for the batsmen to score runs. Pakistan reached 118 for the loss of five wickets, after struggling to gain any momentum at the start of the innings, and it did not prove to be enough at the end of the day.
Shoaib Malik praised the Indian batsmen for the way they applied themselves on difficult pitch, and singled out Virat Kohli as the difference between the two teams. He said, "I think there are a few areas where we need to improve, specially our batting. Even though it was a tough pitch to bat on, I believe we could've posted a better target. Credit to Indian team for the way they played on difficult pitch.
"I feel we were not really expecting this kind of pitch. We felt we would get a wicket similar to the one used in the game against Bangladesh. Obviously weather is not in your control. We couldn't win the toss too, but that's not in your hands. There is one area to improve and that is our batting.
"Our total wasn't enough to defend against such a great batting line-up. Credit to Virat Kohli for his innings. He was the only difference between the two teams”.
With the six-wicket win, India not only dented Pakistan's unbeaten record at the Eden Gardens, but also extended their win-loss record to 11-0 in World Cup matches against their arch rivals. However, Dhoni downplayed the winning streak saying that they are bound to lose someday.
"If you are proud of the fact that we've won 11-0 against them, we also need to know that reality is that we will lose someday. Whether that's today, 10 years later, 20 years later or 50 years later. It can't be that we will always keep winning.
"It's something to be proud of, but we have to put in as much efforts each time. If there is pressure on them for an 11-0 record, then there is pressure on us for 11-0 too.
"Credit goes to players and support staff. We all know performances like those (against New Zealand) you don't want to do. To have a very bad game or very bad series and come back strong shows the kind of character that the boys have.
"And I feel it is very important to back them and have confidence in them that they will bounce back and come back strong," Dhoni said in the post-match conference.
Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?
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