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We fought like champions: Ashraf

cricket Updated: Jun 16, 2008 03:04 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The atmosphere was jovial when Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik came in for the press conference after lifting the Kitply Cup and enjoying a short drive in Man-of-the-Tournament Salman Butt's newly acquired car on Saturday night.

Pakistan were criticised for their loss to MS Dhoni's men four nights ago and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf had dashed off an e-mail asking for explanations.

Before he could be questioned, Malik raised his hand and said, "We used six bowlers and I bowled," as if what happened in the previous press conference was still fresh in his mind. Ashraf, witness to the remarkable turnaround, said, "There will be lot of awards. I am happy. It is an India-Pakistan match and that too a final. It is always a big thing. I am happy the team fought like champions."

“We went into the game with a plan," Ashraf said. "The beauty of the game was that the boys came from behind. I told them before the start that we must play according to plan, that we must give 200 per cent. I don't care about the results. I wanted Salman Butt to bat the 50 overs (he played for all but four overs before retiring due to cramps). There are very few in the world who can score a 100 like Younis Khan did under pressure. The fielding was superb." Ashraf spoke to the boys in the dressing room before they stepped out. "The players were very confident. They had to overcome the pounding they received in the previous game," said the PCB chief.

Younis thrives under pressure

Man-of-the-match Younis Khan said he always tried to perform in pressure situations. "This was a match that made a hero out of one," Younis, who made 108 from 99 balls, said. "I try to score all the time and enjoy the success. I was under pressure because I did not score at all in the previous two games. I got the opportunity and ended up as man-of-the-match. I always love to play a crucial role and help my team win."