Mohali: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has hit out at his batsmen for failing to accelerate after a blistering start that cost them the crucial World T20 match against New Zealand.
Chasing 181, Ahmed Shehzad (30 off 32 balls) and Umar Akmal (24 off 26 balls) failed to capitalise on a good start provided by Sharjeel Khan (47 off 25 balls) to lose by 22 runs, which dampened Pakistan's prospects of securing a last-four berth in the mega-event.
"If you see, we didn't move at all from the eighth to the 15th over (run-rate slowed down). Two of our so-called youngsters, upcoming cricketers...they both batted for a good chunk of time in the middle, where we thought you would take the game away. We just hoped so, but couldn't finish," an upset Waqar said at the post match press conference.
He said Pakistan's performance was just not good enough.
"I think the platform we needed, we had got that. I think they bowled really well, one must admit that. In the middle, I think we couldn't find the boundaries, which were important. And simply not good enough, I guess," said the coach.
Stating that it was "very painful" to see the batsmen repeating the same mistakes, Waqar said: "I think the Cricket Board and the selectors will have to take a call. Once again, I will say, not good enough."
On some batsmen complaining that they are not getting to bat at the desired positions, the former pacer said: "Twenty20 cricket is such a format where one should adjust and be able to adapt to the conditions. Those who are raising this issue that they are not getting to bat at desired position, there could not have been a better opportunity after Sharjeel created the platform.
"At one stage, we needed to score singles and doubles to win the match. But one must say, we are not good enough, I am simply saying that. No matter, how much we keep talking about we lack this and that, but people need to introspect, is this about number or is this about Pakistan," he slammed.
Having lost two out of three games, Pakistan are virtually out of the competition but Waqar said he would not like to lose hope.
"Look, we will keep hope. But the brand of cricket we are playing is unfortunate. It is not the question whether we should keep hope or not, after all life carries on hope. However, the type of cricket and the kind of performance we are putting up, (we) don't deserve," he said.
Asked if angry reactions back home were affecting team's performance, Waqar said, "I don't think we played good enough cricket. The situation was tailor-made for some of our players in the middle order. We couldn't really capitalise on it."
Waqar praised Kiwi opener Martin Guptill (80) for playing a great knock.
"He is a fantastic player. This is not for the first time he has played such an innings, he has done so against other sides also. I thought we brought it back well. It looked at one stage, they may get 200 or may be more. I am pleased with the bowlers' performance, they brought it back in the end. Unfortunately, it was not our day."
44-year-old said it was a "very good pitch".
"A very good strip to bat on. I have seen in IPL and other games that 200 has been chased here comfortably. We need to find out what exactly went wrong, with boundaries drying up. We will probably dig into it and find out what went wrong," he said.
Asked about Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi last evening giving clear indications that he would retire from the shortest format after his team's campaign ends in the ongoing World T20, Younis said, "What should I comment on that? Of course, he has decided to finish playing cricket for Pakistan. I do not know what other sort of cricket he is going to carry on playing. But yeah, of course, he is looking to finish it."
On whether he would also like to continue as the coach in wake of Pakistan's poor performances, Younis said he would take a call only after returning home.
"Look, I don't know. I think, a lot of things need to be told to the Cricket Board, Also what is going wrong. I have told it in the past also, it's not for the first time I would be telling. But yeah, I will go back and have a look, and I will try to make people understand who are in control (at the helm), if they agree or don't, it is entirely up to them," Waqar signed off.