Misbah puts down Pakistan's shock T20I series defeat to Sri Lanka on Babar Azam's double-failure

Waseem Ahmed 22:45 07/10/2019
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Sri Lanka clinched a series win with consecutive victories at Lahore.

Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has put down the embarrassing T20I series defeat at home at the hands of Sri Lanka to Babar Azam’s failure to fire with the bat.

Pakistan were bowled out for the second match in a row on Monday, in the second T20I at Lahore, with Sri Lanka’s second-string squad notching up a 35-run win to clinch the three-match series.

It was the third series defeat in a row for the No1 ranked Pakistan and the first under the tenure of Misbah who is performing the dual role of head coach as well as chief selector of the men’s side.

Babar, who has been Pakistan’s star batsman for some time now, was dismissed cheaply for the second game in a row by Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Pradeep with the right-hander aggregating just 16 runs from his two innings in the series.

“We became number one in the T20I rankings but if you dig deeper, what has been our strength mostly – it’s been due to Babar Azam’s runs. He didn’t score in two games and we’ve been exposed,” the Pakistan head coach stated after the loss the Gaddafi stadium.

Misbah’s own selections for the T20I series have come under the scanner with the recalled Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad failing to justify their inclusion in the playing XI with twin failures in both losses.

While Shehzad was marginally able to improve on his four-run outing in the first T20, Akmal bagged his second golden duck in a row to create an infamous record for himself. The younger Akmal sibling has now been dismissed for zero in the format on a record 10 occasions. Their failure, coupled with Babar’s, meant that Pakistan were always facing an uphill task in the run-chase of 183 runs.

Akmal, Shehzad and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed were dismissed inside the space of four deliveries by Sir Lanka leggie Wanindu Hasaranga with all three batsmen failing to pick his wrong one.

In the end, a lower-order fightback from all-rounder Imad Wasim (47) was not enough with the Men in Green bundled out for 147 runs inside 19 overs at Lahore.

Misbah put the T20I series defeat to a No8 ranked Sri Lanka down to the team’s ability to perform in all three departments of the game.

“This is a good eye-opener for us. We have deficiencies in every department, in bowling, batting, especially the way we got out in both matches. We have deficiencies against playing spin, death bowling and we have to work a lot on these things,” Misbah stated.

Having handed the Lankans an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Misbah and Pakistan will hope to give the home fans something to cheer about when the two sides lock horns in the final T20 at Lahore on Wednesday.

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