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Afridi blames top order batsmen for T20 loss

April 2, 2014

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi has blamed the negative approach of Pakistan’s top order batsmen for the team’s heavy defeat by the West Indies and early exit from the World Twenty20.

Pakistan returned home on Wednesday after an 84-run defeat against the defending champions saw it miss out on the tournament’s semifinals for the first time.

West Indies effectively put the 2009 champions out of the game once it reduced them to 13-4 in 5.3 overs, while chasing 167, and will take on Sri Lanka in the first semifinal on Thursday.

“We lost the match because of our negative approach in the first six overs,” Afridi told reporters at the airport in the southern port city of Karachi.

Pakistan looked to have contained West Indies until the 17th over by reducing them to 107-5 before captain Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo clobbered 59 runs in the last three overs of Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Sohail Tanvir — lifting the total to 166-6.

“It wasn’t such a big total which couldn’t be achieved — but the game slipped out of our hands in the first six overs of our batting,” Afridi said.

Pakistan also lost to archrival India in the group match while its two victories came against Australia and Bangladesh.

The selectors recalled Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik for the World Twenty20. Though both are experienced players, neither could make an impact — scoring just 48 and 52 runs respectively in four matches.

Afridi’s performance was slightly better as he made 68 runs and took four wickets.

Pakistan coach Moin Khan, who took over from Dav Whatmore just before the Asia Cup in late February, said the cricket board needed to take some “tough decisions” after doing a post mortem on the team’s performance.

Pakistan’s next international assignment is in October when it takes on Australia in a one-off Twenty20, three one-day internationals and two test matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Asked if he was willing to take over as captain of the ODI and Twenty20 teams, Afridi said: “I am ready to accept any challenge for the Pakistan team. As a player and as a captain I have no issues, but things should improve.”

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