ISLAMABAD - Misbah's antics helped Sri Lanka snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, as Lankan Lions managed to level the five-match ODI series 1-1 after beating green shirts by two wickets in the second One-day.
Misbah is solely responsible for inflicting a highly unlikely defeat on men in green. Like the previous match, he once again committed blunders, and his cause was ably supported by pathetic fielding.
Pakistan should have wrapped the second ODI with utmost ease, but Misbah allowed Sri Lankans to stage comeback in the series. The team management should have at least made one change, either Bhatti or Tanvir should have been dropped and Anwar Ali should have been in the playing XI, but the management didn’t bother to do so and the result was defeat in the second ODI.
Pakistani bowling looked completely out of sort. Instead of bucking up his players, Misbah was hoping things to go in his favour. He is a defensive-minded skipper which cost the team dearly. He should be aggressive in his nature and lead the team bravely. Now Pakistan chances of staging a comeback in the remaining matches look highly unlikely. If Pakistan bowlers can't stop Sri Lankan tail-enders, then what will happen if top order starts delivering?
Ahmed Shahzad played one of the best knocks of his career and Misbah also batted well, but it was the hard-hitting of Afridi, which helped the team post a decent total of 284 runs. Misbah wasted too many deliveries at the end of the innings, which restricted green shirts from posting a target well beyond 300 runs and that was the main difference at the end.
Junaid Khan bowled brilliantly alongside Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Hafeez, but it was the poor bowling by Sohail Tanvir and Bilawal Bhatti, which was the major difference in the end. Now Misbah couldn’t blame his batsmen, but he should take the entire burden of defeat on his shoulder due to his senseless captaincy and poor approach.
Pakistan was very much in the match till the 35th over, but after that, Misbah completely failed to handle the pressure and utilized his bowlers accordingly. Sohail bowled exceptional opening spell. Misbah, keeping in mind last match, should have finished Sohail's spell, but he had other ideas. Like the first match, Afridi had bowled quite well in the later overs after getting rough treatment in the initial overs, but Misbah continued with his self-styled policies and played the gamble on Sohail and Bilalwal, which led to the downfall of the green shirts.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) must order the team management to include one-day specialists in the side. PCB interim committee chairman Najam Sethi is in UAE and he must take strong action on the team's inability to defend a total of 285 runs, with the world-class bowling attack the team possesses. Misbah should come down the order and let Afridi and Umar Akmal come up the order as there is no sense in holding back such hard hitters. Afridi has regained his form and is on a roll so he must be given enough overs to showcase his skills, which will certainly help the team posting a huge total on the board.
Only a miracle can save Pakistan team's blushes in the series, as Sri Lankans never give second chance to any opponent. All is not lost yet and there is still a lot to play for, but the things are not looking good for the men in green. Misbah should change his defensive-minded approach as with this kind of performances, Pakistan can't win against Lanka. Misbah must make his act together and rather than waiting for things to go in his favour, he must take timely decisions.