Playing without Shoaib, Asif was tough: Younis

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Jaipur:Playing without Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, withdrawn from ICC Champions Trophy for failing dope tests, was tough but Pakistan played as a close-knit team to beat Sri Lanka by four wickets, said victorious captain Younis Khan.

Visibly elated as his team overcame the odds and beat Lanka in their tournament opener, Younis said, we played like a team and the win was a team effort. And if we can continue to play like this, we would easily make it to the semi-finals.''

Happy with the performance of the team, Younis said, ''Mohd Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq and myself are senior members of the team and we played well. There were strict instructions to Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal to play according to the situation and they did just that."

''We are a Muslim team, we kept rozas and it is by Allah's grace that we won the match,'' he said.

''Mind you, conditions were quite tough but in the end, we pulled it off,'' he said with a sense of satisfaction.

Younis admitted he missed the pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, especially in the first 10 overs when Lankan openers Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya threatened to go berserk.

''It was not easy to play with Shoaib and Asif. However, I think we came back in the match after the first 10 overs,'' he said.

The stand-in skipper also expressed his gratitude for Inzamam-ul Haq and Younis said he would pave way for the regular captain when he returns to the side.

''I'm not interested in captaincy. I love to play under him because I have learnt so much from him,'' he added.

'We were short of 25-30 runs': Refusing to give in even after losing the ICC Champions Trophy match against Pakistan by four wickets, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jaywardene said his side is very much in the reckoning and rued the team was 25-30 runs short which cost us the game.

Talking to reporters after the match, the Lankan skipper said it was a good toss to win and his team also put up a good score but with hindsight, it was not enough.

''It was a good toss and we did put up a good score. But in the end, we were probably 25-30 runs short.

''Despite the loss, we are still hopeful. We are in a tough group but we have still two matches to go,'' he said.

Analysing the team performance, Jayawardene said, "whenever we were getting runs, we also kept losing wickets. That's how we lost the momentum. But I'm still happy the way we fought today.'' He also claimed that there was no serious worry despite the defeat.

''There was nothing wrong with our game. However, we have noticed something and need to improve those areas. We had our chances in the match but we just could not capitalise,'' he added.


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