ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

New Zealand v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Pallekele

Our batting must improve - Misbah

Osman Samiuddin in Pallekele

March 7, 2011

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Misbah-ul-Haq believes Pakistan can, and must, improve further if they are to orchestrate a strong challenge for the World Cup. Pakistan are the only side in the tournament who can still boast of a 100% winning record, having won three out of three so far, but they come up against New Zealand on Tuesday in Pallekele after struggling considerably to overcome Canada in Colombo.

"There is always some room for improvement, and especially the way we have gone in our batting, it needs more improvement," Misbah said. Pakistan were bowled out for 184 against Canada at the Premadasa, though that was ultimately enough for a 46-run win. "Sometimes we do very good fielding if you compare it with our fielding in the past, but in patches we have done badly so our effort is to show more consistency.

"The conditions suited Canada in our last game, the wicket was a little bit slow and there were clouds so they exploited the conditions well, but that happens. Our batting has done well in New Zealand and against South Africa so the guys will be looking forward to it."

The batting will be tested further on Tuesday. The surface at the Pallekele stadium for its first ODI is expected to be faster and with more bounce than previous surfaces in Colombo and Hambantota, something New Zealand's quick bowlers might exploit against a batting line-up that struggles to cope with bounce. In August, New Zealand played a warm-up game against a Sri Lanka A side in this stadium, in which they bowled out the opposition for 91 and those who watched the game talk of bowling aimed between the throat and ribs.

Misbah-ul-Haq celebrates after reaching his half-century, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, World Cup, Group A, Colombo, February 26, 2011
Misbah-ul-Haq has been Pakistan's best batsman in the World Cup so far © AFP

"The way it looks, it's hard so it will have bounce," Misbah said, a view shared by New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori. "Exactly how it will behave is tough to say but it looks hard and has grass. We don't have stats of this ground, especially under lights, so you have no idea how the pitch will play."

Misbah's own batting form is mostly above reproach. He is Pakistan's leading scorer in the tournament with two fifties and his 37 was the second-highest score against Canada. He is also in the midst of a spectacular run of form against New Zealand, with six fifties in Tests and ODIs against them in New Zealand in January. His wicket will be vital.

"They just can't target just me, because before me there are three four batsmen who come and if they get hundreds, they can't just target me," Misbah said. "We are playing with six batsmen, so every one is important. We will be looking forward to our top order getting some runs because they did well in New Zealand so we are hoping they are going do it again."

There is every chance that Shoaib Akhtar will return to the XI, most likely in place of Wahab Riaz. That is probably the only change: Abdur Rehman's leg injury has healed enough for him to bowl at practice but Pakistan are not keen on risking him in a match in which they could seal a quarter-final spot with a win.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 23 
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Posted by Zia on (March 8, 2011, 16:54 GMT)

@zaidch. You must have just woken up from a long sleep. Afridi has scored but one fifty in the last 15 ODIs. He himself now claims he is a bowler (in other words I cannot bat worth anything). He again played irresponsibly against NZ and got out after a few strikes when his team needed him to stay at the wicket. Wishing that he will score meaningfully is either day dreaming or just plain ignorant of the facts. When will we wake up and accept his batting IS worth the 23 avg. that he has and stop hoping he will score with the bat. If you do you will contunually be disappointed.

Posted by Zia on (March 8, 2011, 15:30 GMT)

My pet peeve - Afridi fails in saving his team with batting once again. He just does not get it. When he comes in and the team is in trouble then he needs to stick around for some overs. He cannot control himself and NEVER is able to play a saving game with his batting. We should stop pretending he is a batsman and bring him at 9 or 10 and give others like Razzaq a chance.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 8, 2011, 7:43 GMT)

Why why why? Why do we make one of our form bowlers in the last year sit on the bench? Wahab Riaz must play. Please for heaven's open with Akmal, drop Ahmad Shahzad and play Wahab. That would be the best possible 11 on the field.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 8, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

Think PAK would be the first team to make it to Quarter final,we all lve you BOOM BOOM

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 8, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

on paper pakistan is better side and should not have any problem in this match, with boom boom is in brilliant form with the ball. pakistan should go with 3 fast bowlers along with abdul razzaq, afridi and ajmal. they should give ahmed shahzad a break and open with kamran an hafeez.

Posted by Aleem on (March 8, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

Pakistan batsmen would struggle on this pitch .... because of the hard surface and high bounce on this pitch. My prediction - Pakistan would be bowled out for less than 200. Kiwis would take full advantage of tall heights of their bowlers and batsmen. So, the key now is - how Shoab and Gul responds back to the Kiwis on this bouncy track.

Posted by abdul on (March 7, 2011, 22:48 GMT)

shehzad out, shafiq in!!!!!!!!

Posted by Nomi on (March 7, 2011, 21:20 GMT)

This can be again Pakistan's game if Misbah and Younis stick around all the way till 40th over. Pakistan winning equation is simple. Go Greens!

Posted by pak on (March 7, 2011, 21:16 GMT)

if pakistan has to do well in this tournament then the opening and the bowling department has to improve alot. though we r weak feilding side but it has been the same as always. Umer gul has to step up his performance. saeed ajmal needs to adjust quickly int he team. hafeez has to convert 30s into some substantial score.there is a talk of razzaq being promoted, well i think that is a very positive step, by puting him up the order we will be utilisig him more and if he clicks then it will be huge bonus for the team. best of luck to team inshallah we will win.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 7, 2011, 18:22 GMT)

it is gud to see that afridi is letting misbah speak... seniors need to play a huge part

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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