Knock against Sri Lanka was an important one, says Misbah ul-Haq

Misbah ul-Haq also lauded young pacer Aizaz Cheema who came back very well to take four wickets after being hammered in his first two overs AFP

Mirpur: Mar 15, 2012

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said that his unbeaten knock of 72 against Sri Lanka on Thursday has done his confidence a world of good after an indifferent series against England.

“This knock was an important one for me. This will help me get my confidence back as the last England series wasn’t a good one for me,” an elated Misbah said at the post-match presentation ceremony after his team’s easy six-wicket win over Lanka in the Asia Cup, on Thursday.

Having already booked a berth in the finals, Misbah feels that his batsmen need to show more consistency in order to win the tournament.

“We have to be more consistent as a batting unit. The bowling has always kept us in the hunt. Especially, if you have a world class bowler like Saeed Ajmal in your team, its a big edge.”

Misbah also lauded young pacer Aizaz Cheema who came back very well to take four wickets after being hammered in his first two overs.

“I kept on telling Cheema that you have to aggressive as that’s your main weapo. The only way to contain batsmen is to bowl fast and get wickets.”

Misbah was all praise for the immensely talented Umar Akmal who hit 77 in their 152-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

“I kept on telling Umar that if he plays normal cricket, runs will come automatically.”

Man-of-the-match Cheema admitted that he was under severe pressure after being initially hit for runs but encouragement from skipper Misbah and Shahid Afridi helped him hit the straps quickly.

“I was under a lot of pressure but the captain told me not to be defensive. With two new balls used, it remains hard and even if you try slower deliveries, it comes on well. So the idea was to bowl fast throughout. Whenever I got hit, captain, Afridi came up to me and told me to be aggressive, bowl bouncers,” Cheema said.

A dejected Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene said, “We had a good start and felt that 250-260 would be a good score but we lost too many wickets and exposed our lower middle-order to two of their best bowlers.”

Jayawardene however gave due credit to Pakistan bowlers for dismissing them for a paltry 188.

“I thought the Pakistanis bowled really well. They had a much better game than us today. Also we made a lot of mistakes today.”

The stylish right-hander however didn’t buy the argument that islanders are suffering due to the fact that their batting is top heavy and overtly dependant on him, TM Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara.

“The argument can go both ways. IF we seniors bat in the middle-order, what will happen when we retire. There will be no one in the middle-order. We need to give these youngsters enough opportunities as more exposure they get, they will learn from the mistakes.” (PTI)