Pakistan's Usama Mir drops a catch of Australia's David Warner
Pakistan's Usama Mir drops a catch of Australia's David Warner during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup ODI) match at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on October 20, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Bengaluru: Pakistan bowling coach Morne Morkel on Saturday said the whole team will "put their arms around" Usama Mir after his dropped catch opened the doors for Australia to clinch a crucial World Cup victory.

Leg-spinner Mir, playing in his first match of the tournament, spilled an easy-looking catch which would have seen the back of David Warner in the fifth over of Friday's game bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi.

At the time Warner was on just 10 - he went onto make 163, hitting nine sixes and 14 boundaries to propel Australia to an imposing 367-9.

Warner and Mitchell Marsh (121) put on 259 for the opening wicket.

Pakistan lost their way with a middle-order collapse and were bowled out for 305 in 45.3 overs to lose by 62 runs.

"Luckily the team atmosphere is very strong and everybody in that dressing room will put their arms around Usama and support him," said former South Africa fast bowler Morkel.

"It was a dropped catch. Anybody can drop catches on any day, it's part of the game."

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Mir, 27, was playing in only his ninth one-day international in Bengaluru on Friday after replacing fellow leg-spinner Shadab Khan.

"This is a big opportunity for Mir to learn and I am sure that he will overcome this," added Morkel.

"It is for us to support him in tough times. The character he has shown as a player is strong and I am sure he will get through it."

'It's brutal'

Morkel, who played 86 Tests, 117 ODIs and 44 T20Is in a distinguished South Africa career, admitted that the pressures of a World Cup can weigh on all players.

"This is a big stage and the margins are very small and at times it's brutal," said Morkel.

"As a youngster and as a quality player, playing the World Cup in India is a great experience for all."

Morkel praised Shaheen after the Pakistan strike bowler overcame the disappointment of seeing Warner dropped to go on and claim 5-54.

"He has shown character," said Morkel of Shaheen who had only four wickets in the first three games of the World Cup.

"I think at the start he wanted to make a big impact and maybe tried too hard," said Morkel.

"He changed his strategy a bit and bowled a hard length. At the back end he bowled so well."

He added: "He's back in the wickets, he was down for four days with a viral infection and could hardly train. But to come out with a performance like that after just one training session was great."

After winning their opening games against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, Pakistan have now lost two in a row with the Australia setback coming after they were completely outplayed by India last weekend.

They are fifth in the 10-nation tournament with only the top four making the semi-finals.

Morkel admitted that the absence from the World Cup through injury of pace bowler Naseem Shah had dented the team's fast bowling resources.

"Naseem is a very fast rising bowler. Fast bowlers hunt in pairs and I had Dale Steyn. Losing Naseem is one of the factors."

Morkel also backed Haris Rauf, the pace bowler who has eight wickets at the World Cup. Rauf claimed three against Australia but conceded 83 runs.

"Rauf gave a hundred per cent and I can't find fault," said Morkel.

"He had a tough first few overs and Australia were looking for 400. He and the others came back and stopped that."