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Poor bowling cost us the match: Waqar

June 16, 2010 11:19 IST

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis on Tuesday blamed the poor performance by their bowling department for the 16-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the opening match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament in Dambulla.

"They (Sri Lanka) were 160 for seven but we let them off the hook and gave away too many runs. That is what hurt us eventually," Younis said.

The coach lavished praise on Shahid Afridi for cracking a blistering 76-ball 109 with the bat but said that there is still scope for improvement.

"Afridi batted without fear by moving down the track and dealt with (Muttiah) Muralitharan the way he should be. That is the way he bats. I have seen him do this in the past. I would like to see him continue to bat in the same fashion," he said.

"But I think Akhtar is not really the Akhtar that we want him to be. He is still a long way from what we expect him to be," Younis added.

Despite the nervy performance by Shahzaib Hasan and Umar Amin, Younis said Pakistan would continue to play the youngsters.

"We are in a rebuilding process. So we will continue to blood young players. We know that they (Shahzaib and Amin) suffered from nerves in their first game. It is tough out there, but that is how you play international cricket," he said.

Though Pakistan lost Tuesday's game, the coach believes that they still have a chance to qualify for the June 24 final.

"We are not out of the tournament. We have two back to back games against India and Bangladesh. As we haven't played India in a long while, we are looking forward to that game," he said.

Meanwhile, Lasith Malinga who claimed his maiden fiver in ODIs, said Sri Lanka were confident of winning even when Afridi was going berserk in the middle.

"We were confident as we knew we need to get Afridi to win the game. Once he got out, the rest were easy pickings," said Malinga.

"It is always difficult to chase under lights here and somehow we have got used to it. But it is a huge challenge for the visiting teams," said Malinga, who claimed five wickets for 34 runs.

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