Wahab Riaz, who picked up his maiden ODI five-for in the World Cup semi-final against India, had spent three sleepless nights ahead of the clash planning his strategy for India's batsmen. Though admittedly disappointed that the performance had come in a losing cause, the extensive preparation, he said, is what helped him deliver in the high-pressure match.
"I had three sleepless nights ahead of the semi-final," Riaz told the Express Tribune. "I planned how and where to bowl to each batsman. The planning, and the confidence the team management showed in me, was crucial to my success in that all-important game.
"There was a lot of disappointment when we lost to India. It was sad to fall just short of making it to the final," he said. "We failed to build partnerships in that match. I believe a couple of significant partnerships could have made the difference and given us the win."
Riaz, who claimed a five-for on Test debut against England last August made Pakistan's World Cup squad after bans were handed out to fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir for spot fixing. He made it to the playing XI on the back of Pakistan's bowling attack being ripped apart during a late assault by New Zealand's Ross Taylor in a group match in Pallekele on March 8.
Riaz said the team spirit displayed by Pakistan during the World Cup was key to their good performance. "We were a side that no one took seriously before the tournament but we still reached the last-four, as we were united and supported each other. I firmly believe cricket is a team game and once every player in the side pulls his weight, the winning graph goes up. We should now look ahead, rather than keep focussing on the [semi-final] defeat. Constantly lamenting the loss will only be detrimental for us."