'Mental flaws hurting Zim'

CANBERRA - Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor was at pains to make sense of the loss against Pakistan after dominating the match for a major period of time and blamed "mental flaws" of senior batsmen of the side for their plight on Sunday.

Zimbabwe looked set for their second win in four matches after restricting Pakistan to 235-7 but were bowled out for 215 in the final over, losing by 20 runs.

Hamilton Masakadza (29) and Taylor (50) had added 52 for the third wicket to take Zimbabwe to 74-2 in the 22nd over after double strikes from Mohammad Irfan but Masakadza played an inexplicable attacking shot to the tall paceman to get out.

Zimbabwe seemed to be cruising when Taylor and Sean Williams added 54 off 49 balls for the fourth but it was the right-hander's turn to fall to a soft dismissal, getting an edge down the leg side to Wahab Riaz, shortly after getting his fifty.

Left-handed Williams, who made 33 in 32 balls, followed Taylor to the pavilion soon after, hitting a short and wide delivery from Rahat Ali straight to Ahmed Shehzad at point.

"We found ways to get out at crucial periods, some soft dismissals as well. That's being a major downfall for us in the last four games," Taylor told reporters.

"Crucial periods, when batters have needed to get through those initial periods and finding ways to get out. It's not helping the team's cause."

Zimbabwe were also in a strong position, having reached 214-3 in 36 overs while chasing South Africa's 339-4 but then lost wickets in a heap for a 62-run loss in Hamilton.

Taylor, 29, said that batsmen need to judge the situation better.

"We felt that half the job was done particularly well restricting them (Pakistan) to 235," he said. "They came out in the first 15 overs and made it pretty difficult for us and bowled some heavy balls and it was difficult to score.

"It needed a partnership and unfortunately 50s or 30-run partnerships won't get you over the line. So it's extremely difficult to comprehend this loss.

"Some experienced players are not kicking on and should be taking a bit more responsibility. I think there are a few mental flaws as individual players that are costing us at crucial periods." 

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq told his batsmen to shape-up or ship out of the World Cup after the win over Zimbabwe.

It was Pakistan's first victory of this World Cup after losing by 76 runs to India and suffering a 150-run hiding at the hands of the West Indies in their previous two Pool B fixtures.

"We need to work hard to improve our batting. All the teams are getting to 280, 290, or 300, so we need to start well and capitalise," said Misbah.

"It was really tough because it was a make or break game for us. You can't believe how happy we are because we were out of the tournament if we'd lost this game.

"The pitch wasn't easy. It was a bit two-paced and it was really difficult to rotate the strike.

"I felt 250-260 would be really challenging today. We were 15-20 runs short but we showed the kind of quality we have in the bowling line-up and credit should be given to the fast bowlers." – SuperSport

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