Pakistan fans blame Misbah for India loss

30 Mar 2011

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Misbah-ul-Haq plays a shot as Mahendra Singh Dhoni watches.—Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Disappointed Pakistani cricket fans on Wednesday blamed a sluggish Misbah-ul-Haq for defeat in the World Cup semi-final thriller with arch-rival India.

India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs in a match dubbed the “clash of the titans” to set up a World Cup final showdown with Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday, leaving fans across cricket-loving Pakistan deflated.

“We lost because of Misbah, as he did not score well when it was most required,” a fan Awais Shakir told AFP on Islamabad's main Jinnah Avenue as thousands of disappointed fans were leaving for home.

“He just wasted time on the pitch.” Fans in other Pakistani cities which ground to a halt for the game also criticised Misbah, who scored 56 from 76 balls.

For schoolteacher Hazrat Ali, it was disappointing —but not the end of the game. “Defeat and win is part of the game. Our team will win next time,” he said.

In Karachi, engineer Mohammad Ali said: “It was a great contest all along and the day belonged to India. However Misbah and Younis Khan were very lazy.”

By the evening all major roads in several Pakistani cities were gridlocked with cars, motorcycles and jubilant revellers, but the festive atmosphere gradually turned tense as Pakistani batting line began to fall before India.

Power cuts sparked protests by hundreds of angry spectators who blocked a main highway in Muzaffarabad.