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Wahab Riaz confident Pakistan will discover top form

  • Mickey Arthur’s side lost their opening ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup warm-up match to Afghanistan in Bristol
  • They open their campaign against the West Indies on Friday

Wahab Riaz believes Pakistan must work on one key element if they are to make an impact at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup - their fielding.

The 2017 Champions Trophy winners fell to defeat against Afghanistan in their first World Cup warm-up game in Bristol on Friday. 

The losing streak paints the picture of a side in less than ideal form heading into next week’s tournament curtain-raiser, but fast bowler Riaz insists only fine margins are costing the men in green. 

“The way we played against England was very impressive,” he said. “They are the most dangerous side in the world right now and the kind of attitude they have is something that nobody else has. 

“It was a good experience before the World Cup and that gives us confidence.

“We missed a few important aspects at the most important times, and we couldn’t execute our plans as we wanted when it mattered. 

“Our fielding was below par. If we’d fielded better it would have made a difference.

“We’ve batted outstandingly well, but they took their chances and we couldn’t hold on to ours. 

“These are the things we need to work hard on.”

Initially named outside of captain Sarfaraz Ahmed’s World Cup squad, Riaz made a captivating return to the side in Bristol, grabbing two wickets at the death to almost save the game for Pakistan.

An adept reverse-swing bowler, dry and humid conditions in England have the 33-year-old licking his lips. 

And with others in a skilful bowling unit also capable of executing the precious ODI commodity, Wahab feels Pakistan are perfectly placed to capitalise on the conditions in what could well feel like a second home for the team due to the large Pakistani community in the UK.

“The wickets are very dry and honest, so as a bowling unit we have to be very consistent with our length. we know these are good batting tracks and hopefully spin will come into play,” he added.

“We know what to expect, it’s about adapting accordingly so we can make a difference.

“The wickets are really good for batting, but at the same time it’s useful for the bowlers too because with the dry conditions you can get the reverse swing as well. 

“This could be a huge advantage for Pakistan. Everyone saw in the Champions Trophy that we had the capacity for that, so it’s a good skill to have.

“These are going to be pressure games here, 300 runs in just about every game, but when it comes to bowling finding a way to take wickets will make a difference in this World Cup. 

“You need to take early wickets to make sure the pressure is always on the batting side, because if you don’t, it’s going to be hard even if the ball is reversing. 

“There is a lot of support here in England for Pakistan and we love it because it’s almost like a second home. 

“Winning in 2009 and 2017 in the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy is a huge advantage for us. 

“We love playing on one-day tracks as the ball comes on high, and this is also to our advantage, so it’s now time to execute.” 

Courtesy: ICC