After all the build-up, the India-Pakistan game ended up being a one-sided affair, with India dominating proceedings in Dubai on Wednesday, 19 September. They first bundled Pakistan for 162 in 43.1 overs, and then chased that down in 29 overs, with Rohit Sharma, the captain, scoring a 39-ball 52.
More than the result, it was the batting that disappointed Arthur. After opting to bat, Pakistan were reduced to 3/2, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar sending back the openers within five overs. That put quite a bit of pressure on the middle order early, and they couldn’t really fight back.
“We sort of batted outside our roles, which was very disappointing,” said Arthur. “Imam-ul-Haq, it’s not his role to be running down to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over. It’s not Sarfraz’s (Ahmed) role to be hitting over the top and getting caught out there. We’ve got X-factor guys whose role it is to do that.
“If Fakhar (Zaman) gets out playing that way, it’s OK. If Asif (Ali) gets out like that, it’s OK, because that’s his role. But the other four batsmen certainly need to take responsibility.
“(It was) the pressure that told on Imam. As I said, out of his role, he had two off eight balls or whatever, but Fakhar had just faced a maiden. He tried to have a go, he tried to hit the ball that’s not in his area. I do think there was a little bit of pressure.”
Such is the strength of Pakistan’s bowling attack that there remained hope that they could yet defend that total. However, Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan (46 off 54) absorbed the pressure and ensured there were no early wickets.
“On a wicket like that, you need to strike really early if you’re going to defend it,” said Arthur. “We didn’t strike early enough. But, saying that, we went away from our plans too quickly. We said that our batters batted outside our roles and that wasn’t acceptable.
“With our bowling, we went outside our plans far too quickly. We wanted to bowl hard lengths, hit the top of off stump. It was tough to score then. There was a bit of panic when they didn’t strike early. We panicked and went away from our plans.”
Arthur also believed the scare India suffered from Hong Kong, who came within 27 runs of winning their game on Tuesday, had done the No.2- ranked ODI side a world of good. “India played better than us today. They put us under pressure for longer periods of time,” he said.
“They were probably quite good for the hit-out last night and they got a little bit of a scare. They certainly came out, and their discipline was so much better. We saw what a difference (Jasprit) Bumrah makes to the attack. I thought their spinners bowled well, and their lengths were much better than last night. I think they were better for their hit-out.”
The two sides will meet again on Sunday in the Super Four phase of the tournament.