After failing to convert his half-century into a big score, Pakistani opener Imam-ul-Haq blamed himself for not being able to carry on and save his team from a 41-run defeat against Australia in Taunton on Wednesday.
Chasing 308, the left-hander looked in fine form and was batting on 53 before falling to Pat Cummins in a soft fashion. Pakistan then lost three more wickets in no time and were reduced to 160 for 6.
“Obviously, I’m playing well - and this team depends on me and Babar (Azam). When Babar got out (for 30), it was then my responsibility and I was going well but it was not a good ball that got me out, the same as I did against the West Indies," said Imam.
“I knew I’d spent a hell of a lot of time on a tricky wicket so I knew it wouldn't be easy for any new batsman to come in. So it was a huge disappointment because it’s a World Cup stage and if you get set, you really have to make it count if you want to stay in the tournament.
“If I’ve scored 30 in a winning side, that would be great, I’d be very happy. As a pro, if you’re winning matches for your country, that’s the best thing and if you’re not even if you score a fifty, that’s a huge disappointment.”
The Men in Green looked down and out at one stage but Sarfaraz Ahmed along with Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz put up a solid fight to bring Pakistan back in the game. However, the trio couldn't get the job done, but Imam feels this is one of the positives they can take to Manchester where they will play their arch-rivals India on Sunday.
"It was good to see the way tailenders fought at the end. That's what good team do.
"The way we came back in the middle overs as Australia could have easily scored 350, but we did well to restrict them to 307. I still feel out batting is in good form as there were a couple of 30s and 40s but one of them has to get a hundred."
Earlier, it was Mohammad Amir who did most of the damage for Pakistan in the bowling department. The left-arm pacer, who has struggled in the last year or two, scalped five wickets and was the only bowler to keep Australian batsmen on the back foot.
Imam said the team really wanted to win this encounter for Amir.
"I am really happy for Amir. He was struggling before the World Cup, but to take a five-wicket haul, we wanted to win the match for him. He could have been the man of the match. It would have served as a confidence booster ahead of the India game."
Asked if it now made the hugely high-pressured match against India at Old Trafford a must-win affair, Imam admitted: “Yes, we’ve had one game rained off which was very important for us - every game now is very important for us, so yes you can say that.
“Obviously, to be part of that kind of game, it’s great. It’s in Manchester, lots of Pakistani fans there - so I’m really excited about it.
“It’s a huge pressure game, obviously. Pakistan and India, there’s a lot of mysteries behind that but we want to just focus on our cricket strengths and how we can get better.”