Mickey Arthur praised the character Pakistan have shown to reach the Champions Trophy final after a disappointing start to their campaign.
Pakistan crashed to a humiliating 124-run defeat to fierce rivals India. Since then they have been quite simply sensational. Pakistan showed the appetite for the fight against No 1-ranked South Africa that they lacked in game one. A massive upset saw them claim an unlikely 19-run DL victory.
The best was yet to come, however, for the subcontinental team. Against Sri Lanka, a record eighth-wicket stand between Sarfraz Ahmed (61) and Mohammed Amir (28) helped Pakistan come back from the dead to complete a famous three-wicket victory.
An all-round bowling effort helped Pakistan restrict hosts England to 211 in their 50 overs in the semi-finals. The batsmen chased without fear to book a place in the final against India after an eight-wicket triumph.
‘To bounce back and dust ourselves off after that first game against India has been phenomenal, I’m extremely proud of the boys,’ Arthur said on Pakistan Cricket Team’s Facebook page.
For Pakistan to complete a dream turnaround against India on Sunday, Arthur identified two key periods of the game: the new-ball and the second Powerplay.
‘We’ve got to try and make that new ball really work for us. We’ve got to try and get into them. That middle order haven’t had massive hits, they haven’t batted much under pressure of late. So we’ve got to try and put them under extreme pressure, particularly by knocking their top order over,’ Arthur commented.
He went on to say that the second Powerplay provided an opportunity to drive home the advantage gained during that initial period.
‘[The second Power Play] historically has been a bit of a dead period where you’re just trying to squeeze and contain the opposition. So we decided that we really wanted to attack those overs. That for us was key and we gave our bowlers the freedom to do that. We’ve got the ball to reverse swing, which is good for us because that’s a massive weapon,’ Arthur remarked.
Pakistan will look to prevent India from defending the title they won in 2013.