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October 15, 2008
Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, has blamed his team's slow batting for the defeat against Sri Lanka in the final of the T20 Canada on Monday. Pakistan could manage only 132 for 7 after being put in and Sri Lanka coasted home by five wickets with an over to spare.
"Chasing nearly 130 to 140 runs in Twenty20 cricket is not that difficult, and had we scored another 20 runs it could have been difficult for the Lankan team to achieve the target," Malik told Associated Press of Pakistan. "Twenty20 cricket is always thrilling and minor mistakes on the part of any team can benefit the other side, and this is what happened when we did not post a good total."
Malik said the first ten overs of the innings hurt them as they could manage only 64 runs. "Things turned from bad to worse for us on a pitch on which scoring runs was always difficult," he said.
He said the bowling too wasn't up to scratch, though he didn't single out a particular player. Shoaib Akhtar, their strike bowler, had a forgettable match, leaking 40 runs in three overs. Malik raised Pakistan's hopes by dismissing Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene, but Sri Lanka's remaining batsmen had no troubles in scoring at less than a run a ball.
"I do not want to blame anyone, I did my best to inspire the team and at one stage we broke through the Lankans' defence but could not maintain an upper hand as the bowling was not accurate in the final session," he said. "We won three back-to-back matches and we set a flow of victories through collective efforts but we could not sustain the pressure in the final because our batting and bowling was not of high quality."
Pakistan's next assignment is the home series against India starting in January and Malik said the team had a lot to learn from this defeat.
"Defeat does not mean the end of cricket. There is always room to improve and there is a dire need to put in resolute efforts and hard work to boost our performance."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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