India v Pakistan, ICC U-19 World Cup, quarter-final, Townsville August 20, 2012

Narrow loss very disappointing - Azam

29

Pakistan came within one wicket of compensating for a calamitous batting performance in the Under-19 World Cup quarter-final against India. They will now begin the contest for fifth place by playing West Indies on August 22.

Having travelled north from Brisbane to Townsville, Pakistan were playing at the Tony Ireland Stadium for the first time. It had rained in the early hours of Monday and the skies were overcast. Yet, unlike most sides when playing strong bowling attacks at this venue, Pakistan chose to bat after winning the toss.

The first hour has often yielded several wickets. England were 61 for 4 against Australia, and India were 50 for 4 against West Indies. Pakistan were 0 for 2 in the first over today.

"We've been batting well [in the World Cup], so we'd thought we'd bat first, make 250," Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, said when asked why he did not choose to bowl. "But that did not happen, early on the boys played some bad shots and we got out for a low score - we made 136."

The first two wickets weren't to bad balls or bad shots though. Sandeep Sharma's swing from leg to off stump made the left-handers Sami Aslam and Iman-ul-Haq play and edge to second slip. The duty of stablising the innings was left to Azam.

"When two wickets fell, I just decided to play carefully and try and take the team towards 250," he said. "But I couldn't do it, when I got to 50 I played a loose shot and got out."

Having seen off the more potent threats from India's seamers, Azam had just brought up his half-century when he chipped an offbreak from Baba Aparajith straight to Unmukt Chand at midwicket, the softest of shots.

"We thought if we made 150-160 we could beat India, we had that much confidence in our bowling," Azam said. "Our score was too low, but we still managed to take it until the final overs."

Defending 137, Azam's confidence in his bowlers was not misplaced. The first wicket to fall - Chand for a duck - was via a spectacular catch on the backward point boundary and every fielder and substitute ran towards Ehsan Adil to congratulate him. Two edges were caught in quick succession. After five overs Pakistan had India at 8 for 3.

"In the first five overs we dismissed three batsmen. I thought we could make a comeback," Azam said. "There was a partnership and at the time we thought the game was slipping. But again the boys came back and we tried really hard."

India recovered through a partnership between Aparajith and Vijay Zol, but just when an Indian win seemed an inevitability, Pakistan claimed 4 for 7 to reduce India to 127 for 9. The next seven overs were fraught with tension as India's last pair successfully toiled towards the target. "When the boys came back, and nine batsmen were out, we thought we could win the match," Azam said. "The bowlers gave 100% but it didn't happen. Sandeep Sharma and Harmeet Singh played really well.

"We're very disappointed. We had confidence against India, having played them in the Asia Cup - one match was tied and the other we won. When seven runs were remaining, we thought we could get the last wicket and win. When two runs were remaining, everyone was a bit down. A lot of us were very tense out there."

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • MunafAhmed811 on August 23, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    I agree with a comment here : This is learning process for U-19 Pakistani colts. They now now how it felt in 1992 1996 2003 1999 2011 and T20Wc2007. Will make them stronger for future defeats in future Worldcups

  • Fast_Track_Bully on August 23, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    @mogan707. Go and hide. Indian boys reached the final. You must be ashamed of yourself for those comments!

  • kc69 on August 22, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    @morgan707: Only time will answer you.However great game of cricket.Is this the preview of India Pakistan Series(Senior teams)????? My point of view this Pak U19 team is better than their senior team lots of talent.

  • mogan707 on August 21, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    India Under-19 team has a full bunch of selfish persons.They are playing for themselves.India did not deserve a win.They are going to lose eventually to new zealand.

  • on August 21, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Great game. Pakistan showed that they have bowlers who can defend below par totals. However, 136 was a bit too less. If Pakistan would've batted out the 50 overs, it was game on. Well done India, in the last World Cup they lost in the quarters to Pakistan in a similar, tense game.

  • ATIMAYANK on August 21, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    That was an awesome match and congrats to both teams for playing so well! May both these sides dominate the world cricket in upcoming years. Cheer!

  • crick_sucks on August 21, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    From a Indian cricket fan, well played Pakistan! An amazing match. Pity there had to be a loser. Considering these guys are just 19 or below they played amazing cricket. Pakistan bowling as always is a joy to watch. Indian batsmen made a mess of the small target but the conditions were not favorable especially for sub continent teams. Credit for holding their nerve at the key moment. This quality will be a huge asset when they mature and represent their national side. I remember the same 2 teams had an amazing contest in the Asia cup as well and deservedly were joint winners of the Asia Cup. Future is bright for both India and Pakistan. And many more mouth watering contests between the arch rivals.

  • on August 21, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Well played India and Pakistan boys. I would say both teams were great wonderful show. Pak should not feel a bit as this is learning process that why it is under 19 cricket you are still very young you have all future to prove. The way it looked like a miracle happened when India lost 4 wickets 7 or 8 runs and it appeared Pak will win but they did not have any seem bowler left. Next time when playing India then Pakistan should have all rounder bowlers one who could spin also and also fast bowling and they should also be good batsman. A fast bowler can always be spinner also. Most of the time India does not play well against fast bowlers so at least Pakistan should have 4 fast bowlers and one spinner only. All Pakistani fans and Pakistan followers around the world should not feel bad and keep their heads up. Both teams won the heart of the public. I am proud of both India and Pakistan to always give us a great show. it really does not matter who won and lost as long as game was fun.

  • ejsiddiqui on August 21, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    I don't like the the format of this tournament. It is not WC it is a knockout tournament for 8 big teams with league matches as warm up matches.

  • ejsiddiqui on August 21, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    Although we lost but I am very happy that Fast bowling is not dying in our country. We are seeing some of the future stars. Future of both the countries look very promising. 136 was not a pressure score but hats off to Babar and his team they bowled superbly. And congratulations to India, May you win the WC.

  • MunafAhmed811 on August 23, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    I agree with a comment here : This is learning process for U-19 Pakistani colts. They now now how it felt in 1992 1996 2003 1999 2011 and T20Wc2007. Will make them stronger for future defeats in future Worldcups

  • Fast_Track_Bully on August 23, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    @mogan707. Go and hide. Indian boys reached the final. You must be ashamed of yourself for those comments!

  • kc69 on August 22, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    @morgan707: Only time will answer you.However great game of cricket.Is this the preview of India Pakistan Series(Senior teams)????? My point of view this Pak U19 team is better than their senior team lots of talent.

  • mogan707 on August 21, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    India Under-19 team has a full bunch of selfish persons.They are playing for themselves.India did not deserve a win.They are going to lose eventually to new zealand.

  • on August 21, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Great game. Pakistan showed that they have bowlers who can defend below par totals. However, 136 was a bit too less. If Pakistan would've batted out the 50 overs, it was game on. Well done India, in the last World Cup they lost in the quarters to Pakistan in a similar, tense game.

  • ATIMAYANK on August 21, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    That was an awesome match and congrats to both teams for playing so well! May both these sides dominate the world cricket in upcoming years. Cheer!

  • crick_sucks on August 21, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    From a Indian cricket fan, well played Pakistan! An amazing match. Pity there had to be a loser. Considering these guys are just 19 or below they played amazing cricket. Pakistan bowling as always is a joy to watch. Indian batsmen made a mess of the small target but the conditions were not favorable especially for sub continent teams. Credit for holding their nerve at the key moment. This quality will be a huge asset when they mature and represent their national side. I remember the same 2 teams had an amazing contest in the Asia cup as well and deservedly were joint winners of the Asia Cup. Future is bright for both India and Pakistan. And many more mouth watering contests between the arch rivals.

  • on August 21, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Well played India and Pakistan boys. I would say both teams were great wonderful show. Pak should not feel a bit as this is learning process that why it is under 19 cricket you are still very young you have all future to prove. The way it looked like a miracle happened when India lost 4 wickets 7 or 8 runs and it appeared Pak will win but they did not have any seem bowler left. Next time when playing India then Pakistan should have all rounder bowlers one who could spin also and also fast bowling and they should also be good batsman. A fast bowler can always be spinner also. Most of the time India does not play well against fast bowlers so at least Pakistan should have 4 fast bowlers and one spinner only. All Pakistani fans and Pakistan followers around the world should not feel bad and keep their heads up. Both teams won the heart of the public. I am proud of both India and Pakistan to always give us a great show. it really does not matter who won and lost as long as game was fun.

  • ejsiddiqui on August 21, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    I don't like the the format of this tournament. It is not WC it is a knockout tournament for 8 big teams with league matches as warm up matches.

  • ejsiddiqui on August 21, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    Although we lost but I am very happy that Fast bowling is not dying in our country. We are seeing some of the future stars. Future of both the countries look very promising. 136 was not a pressure score but hats off to Babar and his team they bowled superbly. And congratulations to India, May you win the WC.

  • on August 21, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    India and Pakistan- Both teams are of needle to needle same caliber. But afterall, someone has to win, both teams played very well.

  • Zahidsaltin on August 21, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    A very very bad decision to bat first. What was your coach thinking? Is he nuts? You lost half the match before even beginning.You had known from the last few matches that the first hour will tore apart any U19 batting line but even then you went for it. No one played bad shots even, just the bowling in those conditions was too good for pakistani bats. Even dropping Usman Qadir cost your batting.

  • indiasupbangalore on August 21, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    pakistan batting is always pretty ordinary, indian made this hard on themselves, it was easy match to win, indians were deserved winners, pakistan got what they deserved no 6 in the tournament.

  • on August 21, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    What a game of cricket! Truly Awesome! I am very much impressed with Babar Azam and his boys. Way to go team Pakistan. You have several future stars in making. Congratulation to team India... not for playing well... just for holding the nerves... that makes you winner today. A huge (and equal) round of applause to both the team! Well done boys -- both sides :-)

  • sportofpain on August 21, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    Congratulations to India but at the same time well played Pakistan - you showed true fighting spirit. No losers in this - one team won and another lost but the margin is so narrow between victory and defeat. You can go back with your heads held high.

    From an Indian cricket fan who has a lot of esteem for Pakistani cricket and cricketers

  • IndianInnerEdge on August 20, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    To the pak boys, well played and hold your heads up, u gave it your all and no disgrace inloosing in this manner, in fact there was no looser-very impressed with azam's captaincy, and players like zia-have a bright future. Pakistan played with good fighting spirit in the right way to play, you and your fans and followers should be proud of your perfomance....best wishes for the future...:)

  • on August 20, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    Congratulations team India. Best wishes from Pakistan.. May you go all the way. Amen

  • on August 20, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    @India_One_Rupee_Country: yes and this ordinary side won 2-1 in recently concluded series against the aussies and made this strong indian side loose 9 wickets and take the game to the ending overs while chasing small matter of 136 in 50 overs.

  • ProdigyA on August 20, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    I think Pak was under pressure even before the match started. Their bizzare decision to bat first could be the fact that chasing is always tough under pressure in big games. The decision could have been inspired from the WC2011 semi-final loss to India where Pak lost chasing a reasonable total. I think this is where they lost the edge when they could have bowled with better bowlers under more favourable conditions and got the Indians out for even less. Total lack of confidence in your own abilities shown here.

  • on August 20, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    lots of respect to both teams and tons of respect to IndnCrktfan, man i am impressed ur words makes sense big time and they sound so neutral hats off man

  • sirvivfan on August 20, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Why gutted! Batting first was going to be a challenge! Yet batsman failed, number of ducks! How can one explain that! Yet it was the bowlers again who fought all the way! I am hard because I predicted this if they had to bat first on this Townswille pitch. Yet very few could! No excuses and feeling bad.... Simple fact batsmen not good enough just like the senior side. Riaz uk

  • StatisticsRocks on August 20, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    Bad luck PAK, u guys fought till the last minute but were unfortunate not to win it. Absolutely Great Stuff! I am impressed beyond words as to how PAK continues to produce fast bowling talent. The young Zia-ul-haq bowls at ~140k's. No one in the senior Indian team can bowl at 140's consistently. Pak has great talent coming through the U19 pipeline and I can clearly see the PAK bowling future intact. Zia should consult with Wasim bhai to turn him into a good prospect for PAK. I am certain Ehsan Adil will play for Pak in the future if not for talent but for having a big heart. Congrats to my team India and I am sure u need a lot more to win against NZ. Batting mainly revolves around the captain but baba Aparjith and Zohl can provide stability in the middle order. Even U19 India PAK never dissappoints. So much pressure on these kids, incredible.

  • serious-am-i on August 20, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    It was a great exhibition of cricket from both Ind and Pak, this is why the matches between these 2 teams are always awesome to watch. Ind v Pak are not matches for weak hearts for sure. Good display Pak and Ind boys.

  • vish2020 on August 20, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    Way to go India!! The pakistani's were confident and the media had India down and out but well that's where we rise! They don't call tigers "bengal tigers" for no reason :)

  • TRIN999 on August 20, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    Being on the loosing side is a never a good experience,but u guys fought really really and that what world wants to see ,rather than those boring one sided matches. Thanks to both the teams for producing such a cracker of the matches. All the best to team "INDIA" junior for the semis. Supporters of pak,srilanka,bang, now support India,the lone subcontinental team left in the competition.

  • 777aditya on August 20, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    There is absolutely no need for anyone to be gutted - in fact, they should feel proud in the fact that they made a match out of such a low score. Babar, Adil, Zia, and Azizullah are especially talented kids, who if nurtured well could make the national side pretty soon. Eid Mubarak Pakistan - if you truly love the sport, hate evaporates!

  • on August 20, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    "4 for 7" , "127 for 9" ...which side of "for" are the runs? editors getting confused?

  • squarepeg on August 20, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    Pakistan exposed India's weakness thoroughly, just couldn't land the last knockout punch. Both teams played well in patches, a poor match if this is the quality of U-19s of two frontline test nations.

  • Aboss on August 20, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Tough Luck Boys!!! Pak under 19 team is still one of the best in the world. They are well lead and well coached.

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  • Aboss on August 20, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Tough Luck Boys!!! Pak under 19 team is still one of the best in the world. They are well lead and well coached.

  • squarepeg on August 20, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    Pakistan exposed India's weakness thoroughly, just couldn't land the last knockout punch. Both teams played well in patches, a poor match if this is the quality of U-19s of two frontline test nations.

  • on August 20, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    "4 for 7" , "127 for 9" ...which side of "for" are the runs? editors getting confused?

  • 777aditya on August 20, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    There is absolutely no need for anyone to be gutted - in fact, they should feel proud in the fact that they made a match out of such a low score. Babar, Adil, Zia, and Azizullah are especially talented kids, who if nurtured well could make the national side pretty soon. Eid Mubarak Pakistan - if you truly love the sport, hate evaporates!

  • TRIN999 on August 20, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    Being on the loosing side is a never a good experience,but u guys fought really really and that what world wants to see ,rather than those boring one sided matches. Thanks to both the teams for producing such a cracker of the matches. All the best to team "INDIA" junior for the semis. Supporters of pak,srilanka,bang, now support India,the lone subcontinental team left in the competition.

  • vish2020 on August 20, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    Way to go India!! The pakistani's were confident and the media had India down and out but well that's where we rise! They don't call tigers "bengal tigers" for no reason :)

  • serious-am-i on August 20, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    It was a great exhibition of cricket from both Ind and Pak, this is why the matches between these 2 teams are always awesome to watch. Ind v Pak are not matches for weak hearts for sure. Good display Pak and Ind boys.

  • StatisticsRocks on August 20, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    Bad luck PAK, u guys fought till the last minute but were unfortunate not to win it. Absolutely Great Stuff! I am impressed beyond words as to how PAK continues to produce fast bowling talent. The young Zia-ul-haq bowls at ~140k's. No one in the senior Indian team can bowl at 140's consistently. Pak has great talent coming through the U19 pipeline and I can clearly see the PAK bowling future intact. Zia should consult with Wasim bhai to turn him into a good prospect for PAK. I am certain Ehsan Adil will play for Pak in the future if not for talent but for having a big heart. Congrats to my team India and I am sure u need a lot more to win against NZ. Batting mainly revolves around the captain but baba Aparjith and Zohl can provide stability in the middle order. Even U19 India PAK never dissappoints. So much pressure on these kids, incredible.

  • sirvivfan on August 20, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Why gutted! Batting first was going to be a challenge! Yet batsman failed, number of ducks! How can one explain that! Yet it was the bowlers again who fought all the way! I am hard because I predicted this if they had to bat first on this Townswille pitch. Yet very few could! No excuses and feeling bad.... Simple fact batsmen not good enough just like the senior side. Riaz uk

  • on August 20, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    lots of respect to both teams and tons of respect to IndnCrktfan, man i am impressed ur words makes sense big time and they sound so neutral hats off man