BENGALURU, India: Pakistan paid a heavy price for being “under extra pressure” in their World Cup defeat by arch-rivals India, said batsman Saud Shakeel, who Wednesday lamented the absence of the team’s passionate supporters from the tournament.
Pakistan were thrashed by seven wickets on Saturday at Ahmedabad’s 132,000-capacity stadium where there was only a handful of Pakistani supporters.
Babar Azam’s team slumped from a solid 155-2 in the 30th over to be dismissed for a paltry 191.
“I think we were under extra pressure so we tried to get out of that and wanted to play shots,” Shakeel told AFP on Wednesday.
The smattering of Pakistani fans at the game were expatriates from the United Kingdon and United States.
Supporters from across the border are effectively banned after a failure to gain visas.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday lodged an official complaint with the world governing body over the visa delays which have also kept many members of the country’s media at home.
The PCB also complained over what they described as the “inappropriate behavior” of Indian fans toward the Pakistan squad at the Ahmedabad game.
“When you have your crowd then you get the support. We did not get that and it was not in our hands,” added Shakeel.
Despite an eighth loss in eight World Cup meetings with their arch-rivals, Pakistan are still well-placed in the tournament after wins over the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
Middle-order batsman Shakeel scored 68 against the Netherlands before making 31 in the game with Sri Lanka. He was out for just six against India.
Next up for Pakistan is another high-profile duel, this time with five-time champions Australia in Bengaluru on Friday.
“The mistakes we committed in the last game, we must overcome them. That match is gone. If we win against Australia then our position will get better,” added Shakeel.
“Australia are always good in the World Cup. They are a very good side. We know our strong areas and we must play good cricket.”
“We had a good start to the tournament with two wins. We want to go match by match and not commit the mistakes we did against India.”
On Wednesday, all the Pakistan players with the exception of Mohammad Haris trained in Bengaluru.
Haris is still suffering from a fever which laid low many of the squad when they arrived from Ahmedabad.
Star fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi and opener Abdullah Shafique were the worst hit but were present in the nets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.