Series loss a big blow for us - Azhar
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has said that the ODI series loss to Bangladesh with a match to go was a big blow to his side. He has asked for time for his team to stand up again, but doesn't expect a quick turnaround.
"It is a big blow for us," Azhar said. "We are going through a rebuilding process. We have new guys in the team but we didn't expect to lose here. We wanted to win, but we didn't play good enough cricket."
Azhar said that they were 60 runs short of a good score after winning the toss, considered an advantage in Mirpur. "I think the wicket was good. I think we lost wickets at bad times, very quickly to start with. I think the wicket was easily 300-plus. It was coming on to the bat. We didn't play well."
The bowling effort too wasn't up to his expectations, as they lost with 71 balls to spare. Azhar felt that his attack would at least make a contest out of it, despite giving Bangladesh only 240 to chase. He said that they were unable to adjust to conditions in Bangladesh although they had bowled much better in the World Cup.
Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali and Saeed Ajmal took one wicket each but all of them gave away more than five runs per over. Only Wahab Riaz kept things tight and created chances, but it was never going to be enough while defending 239.
"When you go inside and have runs on the board you have to believe. We had to believe with the bowlers we had. I think we could have made a better effort. We definitely could have bowled better, 240 shouldn't have been made like this.
"Conditions were definitely different. In the World Cup they bowled really well. We haven't seen the yorkers which they generally bowl."
Azhar said that they would still like to salvage something from the remaining ODI in Mirpur on April 22. He will ask his team for all-round improvement and wouldn't like to see them so despondent.
"We can't just put our head down. Our heads should be up. We have got to work and play better cricket. We have to bat well, field well. It is a simple message that we have to improve in all three forms."
Azhar said that Haris Sohail, Saad Nasim and Riaz kept Pakistan in this game when almost everything was lost. He said that the lack of combined effort has hurt his side in the two games. Sohail scored 44 while Nasim made a maiden ODI fifty, top-scoring with 77. Riaz struck his second ODI fifty off just 39 balls.
"I think Haris batted really responsibly. Obviously the new guy Saad Nasim contributed really well. I think Wahab Riaz and Nasim made us come back in the game. Otherwise we were nowhere. So it is good signs for us. We are giving performance in patches. We have to combine them as a team effort.
"You can't win on one or two performances. We have to perform as a team. I think we have very good cricketers. We have a bunch of good guys. I think if we keep trusting them, they can do well."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84