|2012 World Twenty20: Hafeez proud of his troops|
06 October 2012
Pakistan’s dream of adding to their 2009 World Twenty20 crown was ruefully dismissed on a dustbowl surface courtesy inept batting, but captain Mohammad Hafeez was proud of his team’s campaign, adding that the hosts deserved to be in the final.
Pakistan, the only team to reach the last-four of all four World Twenty20s, lost their second successive semi-final after their loss to Australia at the same stage in 2010. This followed the team’s exit from the 2011 World Cup, also in the semi-finals.
But Hafeez, who was appointed Twenty20 captain earlier this year, said there were positives to be ‘proud about’.
“We played positive cricket and I am proud of my team,” said Hafeez. “Sri Lanka deserved to win and they are worthy finalists on the basis of what they have done in this tournament.”
But the skipper admitted the 140-run target should have been well within his side’s reach.
“The pitch was turning and it was difficult to score runs. We lost some wickets in the middle and couldn’t stage a comeback. We should have chased that down.”
The Pakistan captain also backed the out-of-form and under-fire all-rounder Shahid Afridi, dismissed first ball.
“There is no doubt that he still is a match-winner. There is no doubt about his abilities. He is going through very bad form at the moment. He worked hard to come out of it but failed.”
Hafeez added that Pakistan’s weakness in chasing the target was a concern — this coming after Pakistan chased down a stiff target against India in a warm-up before failing to overhaul a mediocre total against England in the second practice game. Some good work saw Pakistan chase down Bangladesh’s total before a batting collapse saw the team overcome South Africa after some anxious moments during the tournament.
“I would not say that we are bad chasers but, yes, it is a concern and we have to sort that out with some planning because it has become a problem.”
Blessed with finals
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene goes into tomorrow’s final confident of winning the title. after failing at the last hurdle in three previous world meets.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said the accomplished 35-year-old. “We are all really happy to be part of a very successful group over a period of time.
“We have been blessed with four now — although I know we haven’t won anything. But four finals, it’s amazing. In one’s career you are lucky enough to play in one final. We are a proud nation and everyone will be behind us.”
Umar Akmal fined for umpire snub
More bad news awaited Umar Akmal as the Pakistan batsman was fined 50 per cent of his match fee for an ‘offensive’ snub of the umpires’ authority during his team’s 16-run defeat.
The incident took place in the 17th over of Pakistan’s innings when Umar, who was the non-striker, ignored both on-field umpires’ request and went ahead to change his batting gloves.
“Respect for the umpires is integral and is something which we always emphasise and encourage,” said match referee Jeff Crowe. “In this incident, Umar showed blatant disregard to both the umpires’ requests, which was offensive and unacceptable from an international cricketer and contrary to our unique spirit, hence a level two charge was laid.”
“Our openers looked in a panic. The target was not easy on a slow pitch, but had the planning been there it could have been chased.”
“There were a few selection errors. We should have played Asad Shafiq. He’s our most composed and technically sound player.”
“You needed proper planning to chase down the total. Our batsmen didn’t play according to the situation and pitch conditions.”
“Afridi was cruelly out of form. I think he should retire now because he was a big disappointment in the tournament.”
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