Islamabad: Injured Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul has held the team`s poor fielding display responsible for the massive 34-run defeat against Australia in the ICC World T20 Championship.
Gul, who failed to recover on time from his shoulder injury and was omitted from the T20 squad for the coveted tournament at the very last moment, said Pakistani fielders dropped too many catches, which changed the result of the match.
"Catches win matches, and you simply cannot drop players of the calibre of Shane Watson and David Hussey. The catches that Misbah-ul-Haq and Salman Butt dropped hit Pakistan very hard," Gul said.
Hussey was dropped by Salman Butt near the long-off boundary on five. The drop cost Pakistan dearly as he went on to smash 53 off 29 deliveries, which included four sixes in a Mohammed Sami over.
Misbah-ul-Haq then dropped Watson at mid-wicket adding to Sami`s woes. The Australian all-rounder went on to score 81 runs off 49.
"Both catches should have been taken and could have entirely changed the course of the match. On flat decks like the one in St Lucia, bowlers need the support of their fielders, but yesterday the support wasn`t there. With Watson gone and Hussey back in the pavilion early, Pakistan could have applied some pressure on the Australians," PakPassion.net quoted Gul, as saying.
Gul, who is Pakistan`s most successful T20 bowler, hailed captain Shahid Afridi`s decision to open the bowling with spinner Mohammed Hafeez, but said the skipper lacked a "Plan B" when the move backfired.
"It was a plan that was clearly designed to stifle dangerous Aussie opening batsman David Warner, who is recognised as being more comfortable against pace, rather than spin. However when Hafeez started to get hit around, then the plan should have been altered straight away. But it seemed to me that there was no alternative plan," Gul said.
He also pointed out that Pakistani bowlers lacked variations, and were pretty predictable in the match.
"The pitch was slow and very good for batting. In those circumstances you have to vary your length, line and pace. I would have expected more bouncers, slow bouncers, quick bouncers, especially after Sami got rid of Warner to a short ball. I was surprised that we didnt see more shorter deliveries," Gul said.