Islamabad, March 30: Despondent Pakistani cricket fans on Wednesday assigned blame to a sluggish Misbah-ul-Haq for defeat in the World Cup semi-final match at Mohali against arch-foe India.
India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs in a match billed as "the mother of all battles" to set up a World Cup final showdown with Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday, leaving fans across cricket-loving Pakistan dejected.
“We lost because of Misbah, as he did not score well when it was most required," a fan Awais Shakir told a leading reporting agency at 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, but was very slow of the blocks when it seemed he wasn't even pushing for singles.
For schoolteacher Hazrat Ali, it was sad outcome —but not the end of the game. “Defeat and victory 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, arterial roads in several Pakistani cities were choc-a-block with cars, motorcycles and revellers, but the festive atmosphere gradually dissipated as the Pakistani batting line began to fall before India.
Power cuts triggered protests by hundreds of angry spectators who blocked a main highway in Muzaffarabad.