Mahela Jayawardene made a big difference as his partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne finished the game, said Pakistan skipper Misbah ul-Haq after losing the Asia Cup final to Sri Lanka by five wickets. "He (Mahela) had a good partnership with Thirimanne. We couldn't manage to put pressure,’’ he said.
"We need early wickets in such matches but we could not. Saeed (Ajmal) gave us good breakthroughs. In bowling also you need partnerships, but he didn't get the support. No other bowler could create any pressure and it became easy for them to chase down the target. It was a bad day for all other bowlers,’’ Misbah said.
Misbah said he did not think injuries had affected them in the match. But losing three early wickets did the damage. "We lost three early wickets and then we recovered. We still could have scored 20-25 more runs," he said.
The Pakistan captain admitted that they were not upto the mark especially in fielding and bowling.
Misbah said the batsmen failed to execute their plan not to give Malinga any wickets. "Malinga took five wickets and put us under pressure," he said. The skipper, however, had a word of praise for centurion Fawad Alam. "Alam has been doing well consistently in domestic season as well. He handled the pressure well. In these conditions, he played a spectacular innings,‘’ he said.
On risk of playing an injured Shahid Afridi, Misbah said the big reason was that he was in tremendous form with bat. "Unfortunately he could not bat today. There was not problem with him at all with bowling and batting."
Pakistan skipper also said Asian teams will have an advantage in the forthcoming World Cup. "It depends on 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 to four teams are favourites in T20.’’