Harbhajan Singh has lauded Pat Cummins for playing the supporting act to perfection in Australia's 2023 World Cup league-stage win against Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Hashmatullah Shahidi and company set the Aussies a 292-run target at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Cummins then scored a 68-ball unbeaten 12 as Glenn Maxwell smoked an unbeaten 201 off 128 deliveries to take Australia to a three-wicket win with 19 deliveries to spare.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Harbhajan was asked about his thoughts on Cummins' role in Australia's win, to which he responded:
"He should also pat his back and say that he played his part. The part might look small but I feel he played quite a big role. His captaincy was not good but he didn't throw his wicket while batting."
The former India spinner added:
"He played extremely well. He gave excellent support. These runs wouldn't have been scored if he hadn't supported. Maxwell might have scored so many runs alone but he (Cummins) played 60-70 balls. Playing 60-70 balls is a lot against this spin-bowling attack where every ball of theirs could have proved deadly."
Cummins walked out to bat when Australia were in dire straits at 91/7. The Australian captain and Maxwell then stitched together an unbroken 202-run eighth-wicket partnership to take their team over the line.
"It is a learning for all the seven batters who got out" - Harbhajan Singh on Pat Cummins' knock
Harbhajan Singh highlighted that Pat Cummins' knock was a lesson for the dismissed Australian batters. He said:
"It is a learning for all the seven batters who got out. If you spend time at the crease, you can score runs. You will have to wake yourself up slightly, that you have to spend time at the crease."
However, the cricketer-turned-commentator wasn't pleased with the Australian skipper's captaincy. He explained:
"So Pat Cummins had a huge role in batting but he was found slightly wanting in captaincy. Bad calculation when it comes to giving overs. He gave the 45th or 46th over to Maxwell."
Maxwell was asked to bowl the 47th over of Afghanistan's innings. The move backfired as the part-time spinner conceded 16 runs, with Rashid Khan hitting him for a six and a four. Josh Hazlewood, Australia's most successful and economical bowler on the day, ended up bowling just nine overs.
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