ADELAIDE - Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz has apologised to the nation for the team’s failure in the cricket World Cup quarter final against Australia. Riaz, who turned in one of the most enduring and blistering spells of pace bowling against Australia on Friday, said he was heart-broken with the defeat.

“I am sad and I apologize to the people for the defeat because they had so many expectations from us,” the left arm pacer said on a TV channel. “I think more than ever we need the support of our fans now. I am sad because we could have won the match,” he said. Riaz emerged as Pakistan’s most successful bowler with 16 wickets and his spell on Friday had even the Australians and international cricket community all praise for him. Explaining his war of words with Australia’s Shane Watson, Riaz said when he came into bat, Watson and others had exchanged words with him. “So when he came into bat I settled the score with him.”

Watson and Riaz were both penalised by the ICC on Saturday for their spat. Wahab was fined 50 percent of his match fee while Watson was penalised 15 percent of his after their angry clash. Wahab was charged with using obscene language, while Watson was accused of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game when the two faced each other down in a compelling passage of play during Australia's six-wicket win at the Adelaide Oval.

"The incident happened in the 33rd over of Australia's innings when Watson ignored the umpires' instructions and verbally engaged with Wahab, who, at the end of the over, followed through towards the batsman and used aggressive and abusive language," said an International Cricket Council statement. "Both the players admitted the offences and accepted the sanctions and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing." Match referee Ranjan Madugalle said: "It was an enthralling contest between Shane and Wahab, but in the closing stages of the match both players crossed that fine line between intense competition and unacceptable behaviour, and this resulted in the sanctions."

He also made it clear he had no complaints with teammate Rahat Ali who dropped a simple catch to give Watson a life when he was on four. “I have no complaints because these things happen in a high-pressure match.” Riaz also said that he valued the wicket of Hashim Amla the most in the World Cup.

Pakistan to head home in batches: Despite being no strong reaction to the defeat in the World Cup quarter finals to Australia, the Pakistan squad will return home in batches from Sunday. Head coach Waqar Younis and senior batsmen Younus Khan will not be returning home with the team. Waqar has taken a vacation to be with his family in Sydney while Younus is also staying for a few days in Melbourne.

"The first batch of players will arrive in Karachi on Sunday night including Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz Ahmed while the second batch will come to Lahore on Monday morning," a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board said. He said all the foreign coaching staff have also taken vacations to go to their homes. "Waqar and the other coaching staff will reach Pakistan in first week of April to start preparations for the tour to Bangladesh in mid-April," the source added. Normally in the past defeats in the World Cup have led to angry protests and embarrassing welcome for the players and only recently chief selector Moin Khan returned to protests after he was called back by the board for visiting a Casino on the night of the match against West Indies in Christchurch.