Afridi blames top-order collapse for World Cup defeat



Islamabad, April 3: Explosive allrounder Shahid Afridi has blamed the negative approach of Pakistan’s top order batsmen for the team’s heavy defeat by the West Indies and early exit from the World Twenty20.

Talking to the media on the team’s return home from Dhaka Wednesday after an 84-run defeat against the defending champions, Afridi was quoted by The Times as saying that the target was not a difficult one.

West Indies effectively put the 2009 champions out of the game once it reduced them to 13-4 in 5.3 overs, while chasing 167, and will take on Sri Lanka in the first semifinal Thursday.

“We lost the match because of our negative approach in the first six overs,” Afridi told reporters at Karachi airport.

Pakistan have contained West Indies to 107 for five by the 17th before captain Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo clobbered 59 runs in the last three overs of Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Sohail Tanvir to take the total to a competitive 166 for 6.

“It wasn’t such a big total which couldn’t be achieved, but the game slipped out of our hands in the first six overs of our batting,” Afridi said.

Pakistan also lost to archrivals India in the group match while its two victories came against Australia and Bangladesh.

The selectors recalled Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik for the World Twenty20. Though both are experienced players, neither could make an impact — scoring just 48 and 52 runs respectively in four matches.

Afridi’s performance was slightly better as he made 68 runs and took four wickets.

Pakistan coach Moin Khan, who took over from Dav Whatmore just before the Asia Cup in late February, said the cricket board needed to take some “tough decisions” after doing a post mortem on the team’s performance.

Pakistan’s next international assignment is in October when it takes on Australia in a one-off Twenty20, three one-day internationals and two Test matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Asked if he was willing to take over as captain of the ODI and Twenty20 teams, Afridi said: “I am ready to accept any challenge, as a player as well as captain I have no issues, but things should improve.”

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