Wahab Riaz, Acknowledges The Lack Of Wickets Ahead Of Hurting Pakistan > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Wahab Riaz concedes lack of wickets upfront is hurting Pakistan

Riaz spoke about the need for the Pakistan players to lift themselves up from the two losses and do what they do best - play well under pressure.

Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz has acknowledged the need for the pacers to strike early in order to gain early advantage in matches during the 2019 World Cup - a skill that has deserted the side thus far.

Pakistan have suffered three defeats in five games - to West Indies, Australia and India - with two out of the three teams posting massive opening-wicket stands to set the game up for themselves. In their only win so far - against tournament-favourites England - Pakistan managed to dismiss both openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow inside the first 10 overs that went a long way in ensuring a successful defence of their total of 348.

"As a bowling unit we are trying hard, We are all focused to do well in the South Africa match. You need wickets upfront in England but we were not getting that," Riaz told reporters two days ahead of the team's crucial game against fellow underperformers South Africa.

Though the victory over England was seen as evidence of Pakistan's bouncebackability, after suffering a deflating defeat to West Indies in their campaign opener, the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side hasn't managed to take that forward. The two successive defeats put them a few paces away from the top-four spots, only to be given a glimmer of hope by Sri Lanka's upset against England on Friday - even though their fate is not entirely just in their hands anymore. Riaz spoke about the need for the Pakistan players to lift themselves up from the two losses and do what they do best - play well under pressure.

"We have to lift ourselves. We are each other's strength. We are all good friends and know that only 15 of us can lift the team which not even our family members can do. Pakistan plays better under pressure and inshallah, we will quality for the finals and semi-finals," an optimistic Riaz said.

"Our focus is on beating South Africa, and we know we shouldn't get ahead or think about the future. We need to go one by one by what to do everyday. On what we do in the now and not what is happening elsewhere. We shouldn't be thinking about the future."

Interestingly, Pakistan's opponents on Sunday - South Africa - also find themselves in a very similar situation. They've lost one extra fixture but a win on the weekend could yet keep them alive, even if only just. Riaz said South Africa too, like Pakistan, have failed in skills execution and believed their clash will come down to which team handles pressure better.

"But execution of skills is everything," he added. "They have failed in that aspect as well like we did, we had matches we could have won. In this match it depends on who handles pressure better and plays better. They will win."

No personal attacks, please...

The fast bowler, who was a last-minute entry to the Pakistan squad, said the players were far more hurt and disappointed with the defeats, and made a plea for their family members to not be dragged into the criticisms made against them.

"None of us like the fact that we lost to India, we feel very strongly at having disappointed people, I'd say we are more hurt and disappointed than people back at home.

"There is demoralisation when they are personal attacks on us in the media. Criticise us, criticise our performances and we will accept it because we want to perform better. I think if people stay away from getting our families into it and focus on our game, that's more important."

Riaz also revealed that the players are openly talking to each other about the mistakes they've committed in the fixtures so far and vowed to make up for them as they make a late dash in the qualifications race.

"Good teams are those that discuss and talk about their mistakes openly to each other and we've done that. Inshallah we will make up for our mistakes," he said.

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