Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st T20, Hambantota June 2, 2012

No excuses for failed chase - Mohammad Hafeez


Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan's new Twenty20 captain, has said there was no excuse for his team not chasing 132 in the first match against Sri Lanka, despite them returning to the international circuit after a two-month layoff. Hafeez made an encouraging start to his new role by restricting the hosts' strong batting line-up, but his first-ball duck was the start of Pakistan's slide.

After the defeat in his maiden game as captain, Hafeez was philosophical, admitting that Pakistan were beaten by a better team. He said the pitch was difficult to bat on, but didn't offer that as an excuse for his side crumbling to 95. He didn't attribute the loss to Pakistan's lack of match practice over the last couple of months either.

Pakistan had the upper hand at the start thanks to Sohail Tanvir's incisive new-ball spell and some poor shot selection. Sri Lanka were struggling 96 for 7 at one stage but Thisara Perera's late 32 converted a paltry score to a match-winning one.

"As a bowling unit we did well to restrict them to 132. Tanvir was brilliant with the new ball," Hafeez said. "This was a difficult pitch to bat on and we were hoping to restrict them to 110-120 after getting seven wickets. But in the end Perera made the difference. He took the game away from us."

Umar Gul, one of Pakistan's most effective slog-over bowlers, had a poor game, conceding 43 in four overs. "We also thought that on this pitch, had we batted first, we would have posted 140," Hafeez said. "But we did not finish well when we bowled. Umar Gul is usually our match-winner but today he wasn't able to do that job. Having said that, 132 was still chaseable but if your main batsmen fail then it's very difficult to win such games."

Pakistan were jolted early when Hafeez and debutant Shakeel Ansar were dismissed with the first two deliveries of the chase. The number of dot balls in the first half of the innings increased the pressure, as did Sri Lanka's effective fielding. Two experienced batsmen capable of changing the game, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi, were sent back by terrific catching. Commenting on Pakistan's approach, Hafeez said there was no specific plan to be watchful after the loss of two wickets.

"There was no such instruction for the two batsmen [Ahmed Shehzad and Khalid Latif] to be defensive," Hafeez said. "They were trying hard and Angelo Mathews bowled a good spell. I think as a batsman it's up to him to decide how to approach the situation, how to build the innings."

Hafeez is leading an experimental Twenty20 side with a few new players, after Misbah-ul-Haq was dropped from the format. He backed the squad to come good ahead of the World Twenty20 in September.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    I respect Hafeez that he agreed dat pakistani team failed chasing 132, as other captains never did so . My T20 Pakistani Team: Imran Nazir(no doubt best t20 player in da world equal to gayle) Mohammed Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, Umer Akmal, Shahid Afridi , Abdul Razzak , Hammad Azam, Ahmed Shehzad,SOhail Tanvir, Umer Gul,Saeed Ajmal. Best T20 Combanitation and Hard to Defeat This team , i am sure.! All Big Guns Wid Spinner and Fast Bowler Combination.

  • Tooba on June 4, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    I'm sorry to say that Umar Akmal should not be included. He has done nothing for Pakistan but only makes 20-30 runs and then throws his way carelessly. True, he is a talented player but talent is useless until and unless you use it correctly.

    My Pakistan Team:

    1. Imran Nazir - effective and fast opener.

    2. Muhammed Hafeez - good combination with Imran, not too fast or slow.

    3. Kamran Akmal - should be bought back.

    4. Ahmed Shahzad - great 4rd number batsman.

    5. Younis Khan - good game mover.

    6. Hammad Azam - excellent T20 player.

    7. Shahid Afridi - will rock everyone with his boom boom skills.

    8. Abdul Razzaq - excellent in shot selection.

    9. Umar Gul - good bowler and average batsman

    10. Sohail Tanvir - can be effective

    11. Saeed Ajmal - King of Spin

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    To those of you displaying your content for not having Azhar Mahmood, why now? He is and was an excellent player, Pakistan ignored him, and its only fair that he returns the favor. He is now a Brit, don't forget that, he might still be a Pakistani at heart. Time has changed and at his age, the priority is different i.e. go after the league. He no longer needs to prove himself - so why should/ would he even consider playing for Pakistan side that kicked him out - just like Saqi ?

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Hamad Azam not being there is a bit strange....also make these silly people practice how to play an out going ball the 2009 series SL was all over us because of our inability to play the outswinger

  • Abdul on June 3, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Where is Azher Mehmood????? he perform well in bpl and ipl also...

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    Hambantota cricket ground is a bowling wicket.sri lanka need more good bowlers bowled two spinners no need.

  • Abdul on June 3, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    Plz vote 4 Imran Nazir...................

  • Abdul on June 3, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    Hi m new here...... I hope my new friend will b find it in best of ur health and spirit.... I really agree with mr. sharjeel.... y selection cometti always ignore to Azher mehmood, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq and specially Imran Nazir........? even Imran Nazir a most power ful player 4 T20 format.... Y Shoiab Malik and Sami called back? Shakeel Anser is batter than Kamran Akmal....? Khalid Latif is batter than Asad Shafiq? i dont know about their planing......

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    Afridi should be captain for t20s and odis nad he'l solve the probs

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    smart moves- bringing Ahmed Shehzad, Khalid Latif into the squad. dumb moves- bringing Shakeel Ansar, Shoaib Malik into the squad. What has Malik done so far to deserve this. Shakeel does not have a good List A or First Class average to bring him at number 3. What were they thinking?

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