‘Brave effort’: Pakistan in high spirits despite Argentina loss in World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

Pakistan lost the match 7-4
<p>Photo: Twitter/Argentina Béisbol</p>

Photo: Twitter/Argentina Béisbol

Baseball might not get many eyeballs in Pakistan but that has not deterred local athletes from putting in the hard yards in order to make a name for themselves in the sport.

When most of the Pakistan was asleep during the early morning hours of Saturday, Pakistan team were busy playing their first match of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) Qualifiers.

Despite losing, 7-4, their opening match against Argentina, Pakistan team put forth a courageous effort at the Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City. This was also the first time Pakistan scored a run in the WBC history.

Pakistan made a good start to the match and were leading 2-1 at one stage, however Argentina scored four runs in the sixth inning to put their opponents on the backfoot.

Pakistan tried to make a comeback in the ninth inning, with a couple of runs, but that was not enough to turn the tide in their favour.

Pakistan had 12 hits in the match as compared to Argentina’s 10 but their error count of 4 proved costly as the South American side only made one.

Speaking to SAMAA Digital after the match, Pakistan coach Rafique Choudhury, also known as Coach Raf, was proud of his team.

“It was brave effort by the Pakistan team. Overall, there was great pitching and hitting,” said Rafique. “They did a very good job and everyone in Pakistan should be very proud.”

Rafique was also impressed with the fact that the local players, who do not even have a proper baseball field back home, from Pakistan stepped up for the side during the match.

“A lot of the US Pakistani players performed really well but more importantly the domestic Pakistani players played extremely well. The two Pakistani pitchers [Zohaib and Amjad Aslam] did exceedingly well and they actually started a late rally,” he said.

What made Pakistan’s performance even more commendable was the fact that some of their players arrived at the stadium directly from the airport for the match.

“Some of the players had gone on quite a journey over the past three days from Islamabad to Lahore to Turkey to Columbia and finally to Panama. They came to the baseball diamond directly from the airport and performed extremely well,” he said.

“The start of the match was delayed due to rain which allowed them to be part of the game, which we didn’t expect because of their flight. Syed [Fakhar Ali Shah] from the Pakistan Federation Baseball did a wonderful job in making sure that all the players from Pakistan can make it here,” he added.

Rafique also claimed that the result of the match against Argentina would have been different if Pakistan team had more time to train together before the event.

“If he had all the players earlier and made them practice together, I know that the result would have been different and probably came out as victory for Pakistan,” he said.

Pakistan’s next match will be on October 2, when they will face the loser of today’s match between Brazil and Nicaragua. Pakistan will be knocked out of the event if they lose their next match as well.

World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

Pakistan vs Argentina

WBC

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