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Pakistan's pathetic batting pains Misbah

June 11, 2013 10:10 IST

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is baffled by his team's batting failure, which has left the side struggling to stay alive in the Champions Trophy after two successive defeats.

Having lost their tournament opener to the West Indies, Pakistan went down to South Africa by 67 runs in Birmingham on Monday night. They now face arch-rivals India in the must-win game on Saturday.

Pakistan would not just have to beat India but also pray that results of some other matches go in their favour.

Pakistan’s pathetic batting pains MisbahChasing 235, Pakistan were all out for 167 and Misbah felt it was very much a gettable target.

"It was a gettable total but batting failed. The batsmen were in good form in the practice games but I don't know what has happened. The pitch was a little slow, but we could have chased it," Misbah said after the defeat.

"It was a good bowling effort. It was simple, you needed 4.5 runs an over. We could not knock it around. The 15 overs were poor and in the middle overs we did not rotate (strike). But still we should have chased," he added.

Disappointed with the batting collapse, Misbah said none of the batsmen justified his selection in the team and all of them need to take responsibility.

"The players need to take responsibility. If you are not delivering as a player, the team will suffer. At the moment, no one is justifying his place in the team. No one is getting runs," he said.

"You think about selection after the tournament. We thought these were the best six batsmen in Pakistan when we came here. Again, it is about application and batsmen applying themselves. All the responsibility lies with the players.

"It's really difficult when your batting is performing like that. It's really disappointing," he added.

Pakistan skipper, who top scored for his side with a 55-run knock last night, wanted his players to "forget about these two games before meeting India".

Misbah said though the batting was not up to the mark, Pakistan's bowling and fielding have been good.

"I think the positive is our bowling. They really, really are bowling very well. Our fielding is really improving. That is the biggest positive. But as a batting unit, I think you can say it's totally lost," he said.

Meanwhile, South Africa skipper AB de Villiers said the victory against Pakistan was very satisfying, especially after their defeat against India.

"The victory is sweet. We were so disappointed after losing to India," he said.

De Villiers said his batsmen did a commendable job considering the formidable Pakistan bowling attack.

"We got more than 200 against a quality attack on a tough wicket. The three spinners bowled very well. I wasn't happy with 234, we set it up so well to get to 270 even. After I got out I thought 220 was also a good score," he said.

South Africa are without the services of their strike bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, both of whom are injured.

Asked what were the chances of Steyn coming back, De Villiers said "he will most probably be ready for the next game".

De Villiers acknowledged good show by young paceman Chris Morris in the absence of Steyn and Morkel.

"Morris had a wonderful debut. We missed him (Steyn) in the last two games but good to see others stepping up."

Besides the injured bowlers, South Africa also had come into the tournament without injured Test captain and opening batsman Graeme Smith and veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who opted out due to personal reasons.

Man-of-the-match Hashim Amla hailed the contribution of the youngsters, who helped script win against Pakistan.

"Not having Dale and Morne in the team, any bowling attack will miss them. And obviously Jacques and Graeme are not here and their experience is missed," said Amla.

"But it's water under the bridge for us. We have new guys in the team, new energy, and fortunately a victory like this will boost the confidence of everybody.

"I think everybody knew of the skills and their hang of the game, and fortunately today they managed to prove it as such. The environment in the team is really conducive for them coming in and expressing themselves. So we pride ourselves on that, and I'm really happy that they did well," he added.

Amla, himself, led from the front with a classy 81 and saw off the initial overs along with his opening  partner Colin Ingram.

"The wicket was a bit difficult early on. We were just going to play normal cricket. I think it was probably a vital partnership in the first 10 overs," said Amla.

"It's been tough going with the two white balls. It's given the bowlers up front a chance, and if you see through that, hopefully you can manage to score some runs."

Image: Misbah Ul Haq Niazi of Pakistan

Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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