MIRPUR - Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq blamed his bowlers for the team losing the Asia Cup crown to Sri Lanka, stating that they failed to create pressure on the opposition. "We need early wickets in such matches but we could not get them. Saeed (Ajmal) gave us good breakthroughs. In bowling also you need partnerships, but at the other end he did not get the support. No bowler could create any pressure and it became easy for Sri Lanka to chase down the target," Misbah told reporters after the five-wicket loss in the final on Saturday.
"We should have bowled wicket to wicket. It was a slow pitch. We needed to bowl accurately but our length was short and even we gave width." Defending his decision to take away Ajmal from the attack after he gave the twin breakthroughs in Kusal Perera and Kumar Sangakkara, the skipper said: "They were just consuming his overs, blocking. They were not trying anything so I brought other bowlers. I took a chance. It was a bad day for all other bowlers. Nobody could put pressure, you can't win matches by only one bowler. You need to bowl really well as a unit. No bowler could exert pressure except Ajmal."
Misbah further said they fell short by about 20-25 runs after Lasith Malinga's fiery first spell left Pakistan at 18/3 in the fifth over. "We lost three early wickets and then we recovered well. We still could have scored 20-25 more runs. But we were not upto the mark especially in fielding and bowling department," he explained. "Malinga's first spell was really a good one. He swung the ball put our batting line-up under pressure. That was actually our plan to not give Malinga any wickets but we failed to execute our plans. He again took five wickets and put us under pressure," Misbah said.
He said centurion Lahiru Thirimanne's partnership with Mahela Jayawardene made the winning difference for Sri Lanka. "He (Mahela) made a big difference at that time. He had a good partnership with Thirimanne. That partnership totally finished the game. We could not put pressure," Misbah said. Having beaten India and Bangladesh, Misbah said there were positives to be taken ahead of the World Twenty20 Championships here later this month.
"Teams really played well. A lot of positive us especially in batting. Ahmed Shehzad, Fawad Alam played good innings. (Shahid) Afridi played two excellent innings to finish the games. (Mohammed) Hafeez and (Umar) Akmal also played some fantastic knocks. We chased well in two games," he said. Misbah felt Asian teams will have the advantage in the World T20.
"You can't say anything in T20. Last time also, the Asian teams were favourites. It depends who plays well on a given day. But obviously Asian teams will have an advantage. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India on these conditions are tough opponents. No doubt these three four teams are favourites in T20," he said.