Former England allrounder Ravi Bopara admitted his Pakistan Super League franchise Karachi Kings were not up to the throne as batting became their bane in the league which led to six defeats in eight games.
Karachi Kings slumped to a five-wicket defeat in their must-win game against Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai and were left to pray Lahore loses their last match against Islamabad to sneak into the play-offs as fourth team.
Peshawar topped the league table with 12 points and better net run-rate while Quetta finished second with as many points and Islamabad third.
Bopara, highest run getter and wicket-taker for Karachi franchise, said team’s showing was not up to the mark.
“Obviously we are not satisfied,” said Bopara. “We’ve played poorly, I don’t think we deserved to go through the way we’ve played if im being brutally honest. But thius league, four teams go through no matter what and you don’t knowwhat can happen in the play-offs.
“It’s a lot of pressure, knock-out stage. We’ll see wat happens under pressure. We’ve got this one game to watch now, so its not over yet.”
Karachi managed 152-7 in their allotted 20 overs and were in hunt for a win with Peshawar needing 55 in the last five overs when veteran Brad Hodge smashed a whirlwind 45-ball 85 not out with sixz towering sixes and as many boundaris.
Surprisingly, Karachi skipper Shoaib Malik brought Bopara as late as in the 18th over — a fact Bopara tried to play down.
“I was fully fit. I think its otugh for t20 cricket, we do have a lot of bowling options.”
“I don’t know, I cant explain. I offered and thought I culd bowl from one side in the middle overs. But the spinners did do a good job. Shakib was bowling very well. Just that one over from Osama that was expensive,” said Bopara of the leg-spinner conceding 24 in the 16th over.
Bopara said the Dubai stadium pitch eased out in chase.
“First of all the wicket, got better. Think chasing on this ground is a better option because the dew comes down and there boundaries are small now compared to earlier. Obviously that over, the 16th or 15th Osama was bowling, that changed the game.
“He’s a very dangerous payer against spin,” said Bopara of the 41-year-old Hodge. “We know that. Unfortunately that is where the game changed. We were winning it from there.”
Bopara said batting let Karachi down in the whole league.
“One reason behind campaign: The batting has let us down, on most occasions. We haven’t scored the runs that we thought we could. The oplayers that we have have got good records around the world.
“Shakib, scored a lot of runs around the world, shoaib malik who is one of the best batsman in Pakistan. Lendl simmons has scored a lot of runs in the IPL. We backed everybody to get runs. It didn’t happen.
“If you don’t start the competition well, its very difficult as a batsman to grow in confidence during the tournament if you’re not scoring runs.”
Bopara said PSL will help him in longer terms.
“When I came here, my aim was – actualy sat in my room long time back after the draft, and said I would love to go here and be the man of the series. That was my goal – the goal was to win it, or at least get to the final.
“It’s not over and yes it was a message, a message not only for England but for myself was well. I really wanted the opp. Around the world most places I go, I feel I bat too low. I batted too low for eng for a long time. Id like an opp hugher up the order. The latest I want to come in as four, I don’t want to come in lower. I prefer three.”
Bopara reckoned PSL will make its mark at international level.
“PSL is right up there. Obv ipl is a v good standard. The BB – I didn’t play much so I cant really judge, but this has been the second highest of standards. Id rate IPL highger because its been plaued for longer. But this is right up there, been a fantastic comp, one of the most enjoyable for me.”
Asked does he now realizes how unpredictable Pakistan team is, Bopara said: ” Yeah little bit. I have always enjoyed watching Pakistan play.”
“That is the exciting thing about Pakistan. You want to switch on the tv and see whats going to happen today – are they going to blast 350 off 50 overs, are they going to bowl a team out for 60 with their line-up, always had some of the best fast bowlers in the world.
“I have understood Pakistan cricket a little bit more and it’s the same for all the leagues, like the bpl, you understand bang cricket and the way it is played. You got to learn fast in this part of the world.