Pakistan greats rue India jinx
Former Pakistan cricket greats on Tuesday bemoaned their national side's inability to overcome India after losing to their arch-rivals in the Twenty20 trophy final in South Africa.
But they said that the thriller was good for the game generally, and that at least Pakistan had recovered from their distastrous show at the 50-over World Cup in the West Indies earlier this year.
India lifted the inaugural cup with a narrow five-run win at Johannesburg on Monday -- maintaining the tradition of beating Pakistan in every World Cup match they have played since 1992.
"It's a repeat and it will hurt the fans and players alike for some time, but apart from that jinx both teams played superbly and cricket was the winner," former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram told AFP.
India, who also beat Pakistan in a bowl-out after both teams tied their group match at Durban, defended a target of 158 through some accurate bowling from man-of-the-match Irfan Pathan (3-16) and Rudra Pratap Singh (3-26).
Wasim, who had tipped Pakistan to beat India, said the final was memorable.
"It was a close game and the better team won, no regrets. It was only a game and people have to take it as a game and must appreciate the quality of cricket," said Wasim, who took a world record 502 one-day wickets.
"I would blame Pakistani batsmen Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi for their reckless strokes and in the end Misbah-ul Haq should have played a straight bat shot," said Wasim.
Haq gave the Indians a scare with a late charge of 43 off 38 balls but his final over chip shot was caught to bring India's win.
Younis made 24 before playing a rash shot off Joginder Sharma while Afridi holed out off Irfan for a first-ball nought.
Wasim said both teams had redeemed themselves after their bitter exits from the World Cup in March.
"Shoaib Malik has emerged as a great captain and the way he led the team from the front, I see Pakistan winning the World Cup in 2011," he said.
"India have found Mahendra Singh Dhoni as their leader and eventually he will also lead in Test cricket. I see Indian cricket going up from here and it is a boost to Twenty20 because India has the market to lift any form of the game."
Another former Pakistan captain, Javed Miandad, blamed lack of planning for the defeat.
"We have maintained our losing streak to India in World Cup matches and I would blame poor planning for that. Why did Malik not come in at number three instead of Kamran Akmal?" said Miandad.
Intikhab Alam, manager of the World Cup winning team in 1992 and also an ex-captain, said India holds a psychological edge over Pakistan in big games.
"The World Cup jinx continues and India seems to have an edge over us in all World Cup matches. But I am grateful to the Pakistan team for making the final a fitting one," he said.