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'One long nightmare South Africa are unable to wake up from'

24 June 2019

Pakistan's Imam ul-Haq (R) and Fakhar Zaman during the World Cup match against South Africa.

Faf du Plessis's side had already been roughed up by Haris Sohail's brilliant 59-ball innings of 89 in Pakistan's total of 308-7 from their 50 overs.

"The results we are dishing out at the moment, it's tough".

Du Plessis revealed that he and the team management had tried to stop Rabada from playing in the IPL so as to keep him fresh and well-rested ahead of the World Cup.

"It started with our bowling".

"It was a five out of 10 performance with the ball, then the same batting. We're starting our innings losing wickets again and then we build something nicely, get a partnership going, and then wicket and then wicket".

The under-fire Pakistan skipper insisted that the mantra of the team was "we lose as a team and we win as a team".

After some struggles throughout 2018 and into the early part of 2019, the 27-year-old looks backs to his very best and Arthur has seen an added spring in the left-arm seamer's step recently. "It chips away at your confidence and your ego as a player", he explained.

The captain felt his teammates were extremely low on confidence."The guys are playing with low confidence and making the same mistakes. It just rolls on, it's such a snowball effect", he said.

"We did try and get him not to go to the IPL; to try and stay and get fresh".

As for South Africa, the team slumped to a fifth defeat and a washout in seven matches.

Pakistan still need to hugely improve their sloppy fielding, dropping as many as five catches against South Africa - three of them by Mohammad Amir.

"Everyone has played the game long enough to understand you go through highs and lows". "So and right now I need to be there for the other players as well." said the South African captain.

"There are people rightly and fairly criticising the team because we are not playing the cricket we should".

"We bowled well; we batted well; we didn't field well (against South Africa)".

"It's important we find space to rest our three-format players". Following their dismal performance against arch rivals India at Old Trafford Manchester on June 16, the cricketers faced a lot of heat. "That's the one area I would have changed but it's not in my hands", he said. Embarrassing, a resigned-looking du Plessis said, after a 49-run loss to opponents who had come in with plenty of their own issues.

"I've always said the most enjoyment I get from the game is captaining the side".

"You know, I feel we keep making the same mistakes over and over again", he said. They are trying incredibly hard. "My character is I will try to fix as many problems as I can", he said.

'One long nightmare South Africa are unable to wake up from'