Relieved Misbah asks batsmen to start delivering
BRISBANE: Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq told his batsmen to shape-up or ship out of the World Cup after the 1992 champions scraped a 20-run win over Zimbabwe on Sunday.
It was Pakistan’s first victory of this World Cup after losing by 76 runs to India and suffering a 150-run hiding at the hands of the West Indies in their previous two Pool B fixtures.
Misbah needed his bowlers to set up Sunday’s win after his side had been limited to a modest 235 for seven by another poor top-order effort .
It was Pakistan’s highest total of the tournament but a long way off the fourteen 300 and over totals so far registered elsewhere in the event.
“We need to work hard to improve our batting. All the teams are getting to 280, 290, or 300, so we need to start well and capitalise,” said Misbah.
So far at the World Cup, Pakistan have scored 224 all out against India and were dismissed for just 160 by the West Indies.
Misbah has his team’s best two scores of 76 against India and 73 on Sunday.
Umar Akmal and Sohaib Maqsood got beyond fifty against the West Indies while Wahab Riaz scored a half-century against Zimbabwe at Brisbane’s Gabba ground.
“It was really tough because it was a make or break game for us. You can’t believe how happy we are because we were out of the tournament if we’d lost this game,” added the captain.
“The pitch wasn’t easy. It was a bit two-paced and it was really difficult to rotate the strike.
“I felt 250-260 would be really challenging today. We were 15-20 runs short but we showed the kind of quality we have in the bowling line-up and credit should be given to the fast bowlers.”
The win gave Pakistan, who won the World Cup when the tournament was last staged in Australia and New Zealand 23 years ago, their first two points.
But they are second from bottom in their pool, with just the top four sides going into the quarter-finals.
They face the UAE in Napier on Wednesday, South Africa in Auckland next Saturday before their first round is wrapped up at Adelaide on March 15 against Ireland.
Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz was named man-of the-match after his four for 45 followed a career-best 54 not out.
“When I went into bat, the discussion was to play all 50 overs and if we had to take chances we would do so in the last three or four overs,” he said.
“The whole team really worked hard and believed in me and my batting.”
Zimbabwe have lost three of the four games and captain Elton Chigumbura, who batted despite suffering from a leg injury, which he picked while fielding, admitted they had thrown away a great opportunity, especially as they had been 128 for three.
“It is always disappointing to lose a game like this when you feel you have a chance to win. Our weakness has been that we have not had one guy scoring a hundred or batting through the innings,” he said. AFP