India v Pakistan, Under-19 World Cup final February 19, 2006

Mansoor Rana 'amazed' at achievement

Cricinfo staff

'One guy was averaging over 100 but...they were due to fail and that's what I told the lads' © ICC
Mansoor Rana, the Pakistan coach, admitted he did not believe his side would be able to defend 109 in the Under-19 World Cup final against India. After watching the batsmen fail again the tournament he said there was some dejected faces in the changing rooms at the interval.

"They were very down," he said in the post-match press conference, "but I told them that in my experience I have seen this happen before. I said we had a chance to defend the score, but I didn't really believe it - I only said it to raise their spirits."

Rana went on to say that to skittle the Indian batting for 71 was an amazing achievement. "Their top five is very good, you can see that from the number of runs they have scored in the tournament. Their middle order hasn't got that many runs, though, so we thought that if we could get two or three early wickets we would have a chance.

"One guy was averaging over 100 but the law of averages said they were due to fail and that's what I told the lads. I said that if we could grab a few early then swing the ball under the lights we could defend the total."

The floodlights were hardly needed such was the destruction provided by the quick bowlers. The coach saved special praise for his pace attack of Jamshed Ahmed, Anwar Ali and Akhtar Ayub, who have performed consistently throughout the tournament.

Rana believes Sarfraz (right) has what it takes to lead Pakistan at a higher level © ICC

"They have been exceptional," enthused Rana. "The whole tournament is down to those three really. We have failed with the bat and great credit has to go to the attack. To defend 109 against a team that has regularly made 250 plus runs was incredible."

Rana believes a number of his players can go a long way in the game and said Sarfraz Ahmed could be a future Pakistan captain. "In four or five years time a lot of these guys should be pushing towards the top of the first-class level if not international cricket. Sarfraz has a bright future because captaining the side here has shown that he has what it takes to lead at a higher level and he is already the captain of a first-class team."

Venkatesh Prasad, India's coach, was full of praise for the way Pakistan came back and won the match. "They played very well, to go out there and defend 109. Credit must got to their attack and really the match was decided in those three or four overs when he lost six wickets."

He suggested that it was India's desire to knock the runs off quickly that cost them the match. "We wanted to finish the game before the interval. A side like ours should be able to get those runs in 20 or 25 overs but we didn't show enough application. I think there was a bit of a feeling among the batsmen that if one person didn't get the runs another would.

"But I'm really proud and happy with the players and what they have done in this tournament. The boys have been keen to learn and have done a lot of hard work. Sadly one bad day in eight months, we played good cricket leading into the World Cup, cost us. But I can have no complaints."