Pakistan must take game to next level to reach WC semis, says Arthur

KOLKATA: Pakistan need to take their game to the next level and rattle up 300-plus totals regularly if they are to make the business end of 50-overs World Cups, director of cricket Mickey Arthur said after their elimination from the tournament on Saturday.

The 1992 champions failed to make the semi-finals of the show-piece event in India, finishing their campaign with their fifth defeat in nine matches against holders England who had already been eliminated.

Pakistan's batting has been a major letdown and their top order lacked firepower until Fakhar Zaman was recalled to open along side Abdullah Shafique.

"We finished fifth, and fifth is where we deserve to finish with the cricket that we've played over the last six weeks," Arthur told reporters at Eden Gardens.

"I think what we've seen, and it's something that we've continually tried to push, is that we're behind the eight ball. Our game needs to go to another level."

Skipper Babar Azam's form with the bat has been mediocre by his standards and the middle order has also been inconsistent.

"Batting-wise, we have to become a 330-350 team," former Australia and Sri Lanka coach Arthur said.

"The teams that are doing that and doing that consistently are the teams that are in the semi-finals.

"I don't think we've done that consistently enough. We do that when Fakhar Zaman comes off and we can't just be relying on just one player."

Pakistan suffered a blow before the tournament when speedster Naseem Shah was ruled out with a shoulder injury and Shaheen Afridi has struggled to step up.

"Our bowling equilibrium was out of kilter because Naseem Shah provides the consistency, it allows Shaheen Afridi to attack, and then you can attack with your leg-spinner and you attack with (seamer) Haris Rauf," Arthur said.

"So, the equilibrium was upset but that is no excuse at all because quite frankly we haven't played well enough.

"We haven't bowled well enough at times. We haven't batted well enough at times. We haven't been as consistent as we have to be in order for us to progress to a semi-final and a final. And that is the fact of it." -- REUTERS

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