ISLAMABAD - Senseless captaincy and poor fielding cost Pakistan dearly as green shirts snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the fifth and final ODI played at Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan team was all set to post a straight forward victory despite posting a very ordinary total on the board, but sloppy fielding and Misbah's inefficiency to utilize his bowlers accordingly led to the downfall of the men in green.
Pakistan batting flopped miserably because opening department once again failed to provide a decent stand. Sharjeel flopped with the willow for the fourth time in running. Pakistan was very much in the driving seat till the 47th over of the match. Saeed Ajmal had loads of time to adjust his line, but he allowed tail-ender Mendis ample chances to play unusual strokes. Umar Gul was given a rough ride by Chandimal and Mendis, as he conceded 14 runs in the 49th over, which took the game away from Pakistan team’s hands.
Misbah completely failed to control the things. Chandimal was plumped LBW, but Misbah never bothered to take a review as replays realised him what a blunder he had committed. Had he gone for the review, the result of the match could have been different.
Pakistan batting looked off-colored for the very first time in the series. It was Anwar Ali, who ensured Pakistan post a decent total. Had he not played that unbeaten 41 runs knock, Pakistan could have been bowled out for less than 200 runs.
Sri Lankan's were cruising when their openers were thrashing bowlers at will, but the introduction of spin put breaks and there was a time when runs were hard to buy, thinking about boundaries was a far cry. Sri Lankan's hit a boundary after a gap of 138 deliveries and that too through an edge. Had Misbah used commonsense and recalled Umar Gul earlier, the game would be all over, but the caption kept on waiting till the final nail in the coffin. It was not exceptional batting but poor reading of the game and ordinary fielding, which denied Pakistan from imposing 4-1 defeat on Sri Lankans.
Anwar Ali deserved a place in the playing XI since long as he proved his selection right by first helping the team posting a more than respectable total on the board, then took important wicket at the very crucial stage and that too of dangerous Lankan skipper Mathews. Malinga, who was given a real rough treatment by the Pakistani batsmen especially by Hafeez, bounced back in style and took four wickets in the last ODI. The way Mathews bowled his spell was really commendable and Pakistani batsmen failed to read him. Pakistan team should work hard and struggle to bounce back if they want to stand any chance in the Test series.
Pakistan batting and fielding need to be overhauled for the longer version of the game, as the green shirts had not played too much Test cricket in the recent past. Sri Lanka is the firm favourite for the Test series. The way Umar Gul was treated by the Lankan batsmen is really a thing to ponder over for Misbah who needs to buck up his premier bowler and prepare him mentally for the longer version of the game.
Pakistan team never looked like in a mood to enter the match with winning mentality. Umar Akmal and Sohaib Maqsood are big flops with the bat. The PCB, instead of rushing fresh blood, should first prepare the younger lot for the stern test of their caliber, so that a player must be mentally and physically prepared to play international cricket, otherwise, the careers of new comers will live a very short life, just like a number of past examples who started international career at a very young age, but faded within no time.