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Cricket
Hafeez proud despite defeat
Pakistan captain reflective after loss but defends out-of-form all-rounder Afridi after team's exit from World Twenty20.
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2012 07:58
Hafeez was quick to defend out-of-form all-rounder Shahid Afridi who was out first ball, saying there was no doubt he was still a ‘match-winner’ [EPA]

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said he was proud of his team's World Twenty20 campaign despite a semi-final defeat to Sri Lanka, adding the hosts deserved to be in the final.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath proved Sri Lanka's main weapon with 3-25 after the home side scored a modest 139 in their 20 overs at Premadasa stadium on Thursday.

The defeat is the second successive exit at the semi-final stage of the World Twenty20 for Pakistan following their loss to Australia at the same stage of the 2010 event held in the West Indies.

Pakistan, among the pre-tournament favourites, finished runners-up to India in the inaugural event in 2007 in South Africa before winning the title in England two years later.

Achievable target

"We played positive cricket and I am proud of my team," Hafeez said.

"Sri Lanka deserved to win and they are worthy finalists on the basis of what they have done in this tournament."

But the skipper admitted the target should have been well within his side's reach.

"The pitch was turning and it was difficult to score runs and we lost some wickets in the middle and couldn't stage a comeback. We should have chased that down."

Hafeez, who opened the innings, top-scored with 42 before he was stumped off Herath as Pakistan slipped from 55-1 to 91-6, eventually reaching 123-7 in their 20 overs.

The Pakistan captain backed out-of-form all-rounder Shahid Afridi, dismissed first ball by Herath. Afridi mustered just 30 runs and took four wickets in the tournament.

"There is no doubt that he still is a match-winner," said Hafeez.

"There is no doubt about his abilities. He is going through very bad form at the moment. He worked hard to come out of it but failed."

And the skipper said Pakistan's weakness in chasing was a concern.

"I would not say that we are bad chasers but, yes, it is a concern and we have to sort that out with some planning because it has become a problem."

Australia and the West Indies meet in the second semi-final on Friday with the final on Sunday, also in Colombo.

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Source:
AFP
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