needed experience especially when we're taking on the world champions © PTI
Inzamam-ul-Haq said Afghanistan needed experience especially when they were taking on the world champions Sri Lanka © PTI

Kolkata: Pakistan great Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is now the coach of Afghanistan, was all praise for his team’s gritty performance against Sri Lanka during their narrow six-wicket loss in a World T20 2016 match here. Afghanistan had rode on their skipper Asghar Stanikzai’s 62 to post a challenging 153/7 but it was Tillakaratne Dilshan who steered the defending champions home with an unbeaten 83 from 56 balls in their Group 1 Super 10 match yesterday. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, T20 World Cup 2016, Super 10 Group 1, Match 16 at Kolkata

“We needed experience especially when we’re taking on the world champions. But we gave them some tough time. We could have won but Sri Lanka were an experienced side and are the defending champions and handled the pressure well,” the Pakistani batting great said at the post match news conference. Full Scorecard: India vs Pakistan, 19th T20 Match, Super 10 Group 2

Inzamam was also full praise for skipper Stanikzai who led by example by stitching 61 from 33 balls along with Samiullah Shenwari (31) to demolish the Lankans attack after they were 51-4 in the first 11 overs. “The way the boys did not give up, speaks a lot… We always fought against a team who’re defending champions. In batting also we were stuck but despite that the lower order showed the way. It was necessary to carry the innings forward with some big hits. Not only did the captain but all the players contributed,” he said. ICC T20 World Cup 2016: Inzamam-ul-Haq rules out Pakistan chances of faring well in tournament

“The more International exposure we get, the better we would become. We batted and bowled well but yes there were some fielding lapses. It was all because of the pressure of a big tournament. We displayed some good cricket and would improve. I can’t say how much time we will take. But the way we’re improving and putting hardwork, you will see Afghanistan in a good shape and play some good cricket.” ICC World T20 2016: Inzamam-ul-Haq optimistic for Afghanistan

The Lankans were in a spot of bother with 85/3 but Dilshan held his nerves to make the difference as they won with seven balls to spare. “They’re seasoned campaigner in T20Is. Dilshan took the game away single handedly. I’m not at all disappointed. We will give our 100 per cent in the remaining matches,” Inzamam said.

The 46-year-old former batsman said they would have fancied their chances if they could have managed a score of 170-plus, “We could have put some pressure. But we were stuck in the first 10 overs.” Asked to comment on India-Pakistan high voltage match tomorrow, he said with a smile: “I’m Afghan coach…”