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August 29, 2012
Misbah-ul-Haq has raised concerns over Pakistan's batting woes as the team lost its last six wickets for 38 runs during the first ODI against Australia in Sharjah. Pakistan played seven batsmen followed by allrounder Shahid Afridi at No. 8 but a late collapse during the second batting Powerplay dashed Pakistan's hopes of achieving 230 on a sluggish pitch.
"Our lower order is not contributing," Misbah said. "Had anyone scored 30-40 in the lower order we would have scored much more. We are losing matches because we are not scoring runs in the lower order and that is why we had Shahid [Afridi] and Kamran."
Kamran, who made a comeback to the side after more than a year, scored four off 14 balls while Afridi edged his first ball to the slips. Afridi has been in poor form in ODIs recently - 0, 9, 0, 17 and 0* being his last five scores.
"We have experienced players in the lower order," Misbah said. "The only need is to bat the full 50 overs, because if we score 230-240, our bowling is so good that we can defend that."
"We struggled in our batting against England and then in Sri Lanka, and that is why we played seven batsmen but we couldn't score much," Misbah said after the match. "We were sure about the target today but we lost the way. We committed mistakes, mistakes we have been repeating in the last two or three series but we can't win matches if we continue to do that."
Misbah conceded that Pakistan were 30 runs short of a competitive total. Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was the chief destroyer as he accounted for well-set batsmen Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal and then the big wickets of Kamran Akmal and Afridi.
He also gave full credit to Australia's batsmen for the way they handled Pakistan's spinners. The spinners had given Pakistan the upper hand as they reduced Australia to 121-5 at one stage - Saeed Ajmal taking 3-30 and Mohammad Hafeez, 2-29. But George Bailey (57) and Glenn Maxwell (38) added an invaluable 63 for the sixth wicket to all but close the match.
"We tried everything, kept attacking fields, but credit must be given to them," Misbah said. "The way Bailey and Glenn Maxwell batted, it showed maturity although they were playing [their] third or fourth match."
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