Hafeez proud of Pak team despite defeat in semi-final
5 October 2012
COLOMBO/KARACHI, 5 OCT: Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez (in photo)said that he was proud of his team's World Twenty20 campaign despite their semi-final loss to Sri Lanka, adding that the hosts deserved to be in the final. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath proved Sri Lanka's main weapon with 3-25 after the home side had scored a modest 139 in their 20 overs at Premadasa stadium on Thursday. The defeat is the second successive exit at the semi-final stage of the World Twenty20 for Pakistan following their loss to Australia at the same stage of the 2010 event held in the West Indies.
Pakistan, among the pre-tournament favourites, finished runners-up to India in the inaugural event in 2007 in South Africa before winning the title in England two years later. "We played positive cricket and I am proud of my team," Hafeez said, adding: "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 that the target should have been well within his side's reach. "The pitch was turning and it was difficult to score runs and we lost some wickets in the middle phase and couldn't stage a comeback. We should have chased that down," he said.
Hafeez, who opened the innings, top-scored with 42 before he was stumped off Herath as Pakistan slipped from 55-1 to 91-6, eventually reaching 123-7 in their 20 overs.
The Pakistan captain backed out-of-form all-rounder Shahid Afridi, dismissed first ball by Herath. Afridi mustered just 30 runs and took four wickets in the tournament. "There is no doubt that he still is a match-winner," said Hafeez. "There is no doubt about his abilities. He is going through a form slump at the moment. He worked hard to come out of it but failed."
And the skipper said that Pakistan's weakness in chasing was a concern. "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," he said. Pakistan's exit has triggered off an avalanche of criticism at home against Hafeez and coach Dav Whatmore with several former cricketers demanding the duo's sacking. “I don't think Abdul Razzaq has been treated fairly and given the respect he deserves as a senior player with so many match-winning performances to his credit,” former Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said. “There was no way you could go into the semi-final without Razzaq after the way he had performed against Australia. Unfortunately, the truth is that he has never been treated properly by team managements and we paid the price," Qadir said.
He said that the team management had also decided on the wrong batting order. Younis Khan said that Mahela Jayawardene had led his team very well in a low-scoring match and it was his astute captaincy that had won the match for the hosts.
“He batted well and he captained well and I thought that was the difference between the two sides,” he said. Aamir Sohail, however, came to Hafeez's defence by insisting that people should be patient with him as this had been his first major tournament as Pakistan's captain. Afridi came under severe criticism following his dismal performance, with some former players calling on the veteran all-rounder to retire from international cricket with immediate effect.
Umar Akmal lost half his match fee for changing his gloves without the umpires' permission during last evening's match.
Wasim Akram lashed out at the authorities for preparing an unsporting track for the semi-final. He said that it was an impossible pitch to bat on. The former left-arm pace bowler said that the dry and turning pitch was a test for batsmen and he always knew that chasing even 140 on it would be a challenging job for any side.