Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja expressed strong criticism of the Pakistan cricket team following their valiant effort but ultimate defeat against New Zealand in a warm-up match during the Cricket World Cup 2023.
Raja lamented Pakistan's growing trend of losing matches and emphasised that if the bowlers fail to deliver on the grand stage, the team will need to aim for scores exceeding 400 runs.
"I know it was just a practice game, but a win is a win. And winning becomes a habit. But I feel Pakistan are now getting a habit of losing. First they lost in Asia Cup, and now here. Pakistan scored 345 and it was a great run-chase. If these are the pitches – and you will get such pitches in India – you will have to score 400 if your bowling keeps misfiring like this. You will have to change your tactics, take risks. And we don't do that. We play defensively for first 10-15 overs and then shift gears," he told reporters.
In the encounter, Rachin Ravindra and the returning Kane Williamson played pivotal roles in New Zealand's chase of 345 runs, ultimately securing a five-wicket victory in the World Cup warm-up match on Friday.
In pursuit of their target of 346 runs for victory, New Zealand faced an early setback but recovered as Ravindra contributed 97 runs and Williamson added 54 runs, forging a critical 137-run partnership that put their team on a winning course. They successfully reached the target with 6.2 overs to spare in the match held in Hyderabad.
While Mohammed Rizwan's impressive century and Babar Azam's resilient knock propelled Pakistan to a total of 345-5 after choosing to bat first, the New Zealand batters made the challenging target appear chasable, particularly in the absence of Pakistan's pace spearhead, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Williamson, who returned to the field following a six-month hiatus due to a knee injury and participated in the match solely as a batsman, showcased his prowess during his 50-ball innings before retiring out.