ISLAMABAD   -   Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has said that Eoin Morgan’s decision of putting Pakistan to bat first was a huge mistake, while drop catches also didn’t help England’s cause, rather helped green caps registered morale-boosting victory against hosts.

In an interview with The Nation, Latif said: “I must give credit the way Fakhar Zaman played fearless and aggressive cricket. He simply outclassed and outshone the most sought-after English bowler Jofra Archer, who was tipped to rattle Pakistan top order but he was looking shell-shocked and had no answers to Fakhar’s power hits.

“Imam also batted sensibly and gave Fakhar much-needed stand. After a long time, Pakistani openers gave solid start to Pakistan team, while dropped catches also didn’t help English cause. But it happens, when a team is on a mission and batting superbly, catches are bound to drop and panic grips the opposition,” he added.

Latif said he thinks the way Hafeez batted, it was really wonderful to watch. The runs were flowing from Hafeez’ bat and he was hitting at will and his unselfish batting led the foundation for Pakistan team to post a huge total on the board. He managed to take 6 runs at third man and point, while Sarfraz could score 2 runs at same positions.

“Wahab Riaz bowled with venom and kept English batsmen under enormous pressure, while Amir also bowled brilliantly but he remained unlucky as drop catches denied him of taking more wickets. Had Babar Azam not dropped Root in the slips at his personal score of 9 runs, the things would have been different. Amir’s body language would have been more aggressive and he would have bended his back more, but the way he removed Buttler, soon after he completed ton, it turned the match in favour of Pakistan,” he added.

The former cricketer said that Sarfraz did wonderful job as a captain. Shadab Khan looked a bit rusty, but it was expected, as he is still recovering from the illness. “The thing I like the most was Fakhar Zaman’s knock, who played like a lion while Babar Azam batted with lot of maturity and helped Hafeez establish an 88-run stand.

I feel after such a solid start, middle order should have contributed more runs. Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali were back in the pavilion when it mattered the most. If one of them was at the crease till the end, Pakistan were more than capable of posting 400 plus runs.”

He said: “Two English batsmen Joe Root and Jos Buttler scored tons, but it all was in vain. Pakistan could have won comfortably, but dropped catches almost took things away from them. The century doesn’t matter in the end so play fast and play for the team as it matters the most. I think Pakistan could have won with bigger margin. They need to fix their minor flaws before Sri Lanka match and must be aware of complacency, which can cost them dearly.

“Pakistan team is more than capable of beating any top side of the world, as they have tremendous talent and a number of match winners, who can change the entire complexion of the match singlehandedly. It was well-deserving victory for Pakistan and they must carry the momentum,” Latif concluded.