ICC Champions Trophy

Misbah deflects pressure

2013-06-09 18:06
Misbah ul-Haq (AFP)
Birmingham - Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq tried to take the pressure off his side by insisting a 'do or die' Champions Trophy clash against South Africa was nothing new for the team.

Both sides need to win Monday's day/night clash at Edgbaston if they are to have a realistic chance of reaching the semi-finals of a tournament for the world's top eight one-day nations.

Pakistan suffered a two-wicket loss against the West Indies in their low-scoring Group B opener at The Oval on Friday, a day after South Africa went down by 26 runs against India in Cardiff.

Monday's match is also nicely set-up in that the strength of South Africa, set to be without both their injured quicks Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, now appears to be their batting with Pakistan's trump card their bowling attack.

In March, South Africa beat Pakistan 3-2 in a home one-day series but only after Misbah's men levelled at 2-2.

"It's not a new story for us," Misbah told reporters at Edgbaston on Sunday.

"In South Africa, we were in a similar situation like that in the ODI series, when we had to win the fourth ODI and our team did exceptionally well with that.

"The best thing you can do is to take it game by game, and tomorrow is a game and you just need to win that."

Against the West Indies, only Misbah -- with a career-best 96 not out -- and opener Nasir Jamshed (50) made it into double figures.

The 39-year-old Misbah said he did not mind shouldering the burden but was understandably keen for the rest of the top order to get runs.

"This is a trend of passing teams over the years. I think before it was Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf.

"So, as a senior player, you have to take the responsibility, but it's really good if some of the other guys come to the party and do their job."

But the saving grace for Pakistan against the West Indies was the performance of a bowling attack that so nearly pulled what would have been an extraordinary victory given they had so few runs to defend.

The towering Mohammad Irfan (three for 32) and fellow left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz (two for 42) both posed problems, the pair the latest models off Pakistan's now seemingly inexhaustible production line of fast bowlers.

There was a time when Pakistan, in common with the rest of the sub-continent, was regarded as a 'graveyard' for fast bowlers but Misbah said the tough conditions, which led Imran Khan, and later Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, to develop reverse swing, had created a special breed of pacemen

"Maybe genetically people are a bit stronger, maybe the conditions because it's not conducive for seam bowling there

"It's really hard work there in Pakistan. If you want to be a fast bowler, you really need to be hard working, you need a bit of pace there. So maybe that helps people to just bowl a bit quicker than other parts of the world."

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