Mohammad Nabi has stated that Afghanistan’s morale is still high despite suffering a five-wicket defeat against Pakistan in the Super 12. He further added that winning and losing are part of the game and the team tried their best versus Pakistan but the opposition finished the game well in the end.
Afghanistan suffered their first Super 12 defeat by five wickets against Pakistan on Friday in Dubai. The Mohammad Nabi-led side are now placed second in Group 2 with two points and a net run rate of +3.092. Four sixes from Asif Ali in the 18th over ensured Pakistan's third successive victory in the Super 12 stage.
Reflecting on his team's performance in the match, Mohammad Nabi said that the team morale is high despite the loss against Pakistan. He further added that the team is looking forward to playing quality cricket in the upcoming three matches.
“We have played two games and we won one against Scotland and today(Friday) was a close game, at the end Pakistan won the game. There's a lot of positive things in this game, we will take the positive things and there's three more games inshallah we will do well, the team morale is high," said Nabi in an official ICC release.
Pakistan required 24 runs from the last 12 balls, and Asif Ali, who shined with a 12-ball 27 against New Zealand, once again guided his team to victory as he smashed four sixes off the penultimate over from Karim Janat. However, Nabi believes that the team tried their best and it was a tough contest till the 19th over.
"Everybody came full of confidence that we could win the game and we tried our best , we gave 120 percent in the game. But it's part of the game, winning and losing, and Pakistan finished the game well at the end. Our boys played really well, we put a decent total on the board and we restricted them and it was very tight until the 18th/19th over. In the end, Pakistan won the game and that's part of cricket," he stated.
Earlier in the match, Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat first, and were reduced to 76/6 but Nabi and Naib stitched up a 71-run for the seventh wicket, and helped their side to reach 147/6. Nabi scored an unbeaten 35 runs off 32 deliveries while Naib also stayed at the crease till the end scoring 35 runs off 25 balls. Nabi defended his decision to bat first saying that a total of around 148 is enough on these kinds of pitches.
"I think batting first as a decision was not that bad. But we played aggressively at the start because the ball held a little on the pitch. But the total on the board 148/149 runs is enough on these kinds of pitches," Nabi said.
Defending the target, Afghanistan reduced the opposition to 124/5 at one stage, and it turned out to be a close contest. But Asif Ali's 7-ball 25 runs helped Pakistan to register a five-wicket. For Afghanistan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan displayed a brilliant bowling performance for the team. Mujeeb leaked just 14 runs in his spell and dismissed Mohammad Rizwan, whereas Rashid leaked 26 runs off his four overs and scalped two wicekts.
Nabi lauded his team's spin bowling unit and stated that spinners are capable of defending 150 runs.
"I think both batting and bowling can improve but the way our spinners are bowling we can defend 150 runs and be good enough in these conditions," he concluded.
Afghanistan will next face Namibia on Sunday, October 31 in Abu Dhabi.