Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur, speaking in the post-match press conference after his team’s 49-run win said that while they were still “alive and kicking” in the World Cup, he hopes that the performance could help “shut some people up”.
Pakistan’s win has kept them alive in the tournament, with semi-final qualification still a possibility should they win their remaining games. Asked if Pakistan only picked up their game after losing their first few, Arthur said, “No, we don't do that by any design, I promise you. We try and win every game we play.
“We're trying to get that consistency better. You ask me that question every press conference. Yes, we are trying to get more and more consistent. We try that every day with our training and preparation.
“What I do know is that guys do, when their are backs to the wall, we get some good performances out of them, and maybe, yeah, I just think the guys were burnt last week. The guys were incredibly hurt, by media, by public, by social media, and hopefully we got a proper reaction from them today that can just shut some people up for a little while.”
Pakistan were convincing in their victory over South Africa, but their fielding still left a lot to be desired, with plenty of dropped catches. Arthur insisted that it was just a matter of going back to the drawing board and trying to improve.
“We train and we train and we train, and we've put in massive amounts of work. That's something we'll be exploring again in the next couple of days because we can't be dropping that many catches and expect to beat teams getting into almost a knockout phase for us,” Arthur said.
“So that's something we're going to have to keep working at and keep chipping at.”
Arthur also lauded Haris Sohail’s performance and application after being out of the team for the last few matches.
“Yeah, Harry played beautifully, and I think I've spoken about it before, I think he's certainly in our top three batsmen, and he had a particularly good lead-up. He got 200 against Australia, albeit in different conditions, but he played exceptionally well.
“I think for Harry, there's other issues that need to be just continually worked at. But the Haris Sohail we got today was the Haris Sohail that played incredibly well and I couldn't be happier. The Haris that got left out has worked unbelievably hard at his game. He has worked unbelievably hard on his fielding and he has worked unbelievably hard on his fitness, and today he got some just reward for that, albeit that he couldn't run twos there at the end.
“But I thought he was outstanding, and I like seeing players come back like that.”
Speaking about the next game against New Zealand, Arthur was optimistic that his side could continue to produce the same kind of performances.
“I know we can beat New Zealand. It's amazing what a difference a week makes. Our boys hurt this week, all of us hurt, incredibly. Guys didn't sleep much, but they came to the training every day and put in, in order to try and turn it around, and today we got some just reward.
“We are alive and kicking, without a doubt, and we play our best game, we beat anybody. Whether that's New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, our remaining games, or England, we showed. We put our three disciplines together, we are as good as any team in this competition.”
Being South African, Arthur also openly declared his fondness for the team as his “second team” and expressed disappointment at their current situation.
“Well, let me say, I watch South Africa with a real fondness. South Africa are my second team without a doubt, and it is sad for me. It's sad, and I don't think it's a team just -- I listened to Faf's press conference, and it's a team that's just a little bit short on confidence. Every team goes through that.
“I think now is a time to just try and get behind those boys. They are trying incredibly hard. I know what they are going through. I had a quick chat to Gibbo (Ottis Gibson) after the game. It's tough. It's really tough where they are. They will be going to training every day hurting like any other team hurts, and trying to get it right. But I do; I watch them with a lot of interest, and I do feel deeply disappointed for them at the moment.”