Kumar Sangakkara, the Karachi Kings captain, praised his team’s fightback in the Pakistan Super League after losing the second play-off against Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai on Friday.
Karachi lost their first four games before staging a comeback with four successive wins to finish third on the table.
But they failed to chase a 182-run target against Peshawar, losing by 24 runs.
“It was great to fight back with a series of wins to get here,” said Sangakkara. “We were hanging on by the skin of our cheek. Unfortunately, sometimes in T20 you have a good run but then you have an off day and unfortunately it was this today.”
Sangakkara praised Kamran Akmal, the Peshawar opener, who smashed the only century of this year’s competition.
“I think bowling after six overs, and then a couple of the spin overs, we probably did not execute as well as we could have. Kamran batted outstandingly well. I thought at the halfway stage, limiting them to 180 was an outstanding effort from us from where we were.”
Chris Gayle (41) and Kieron Pollards (47) then threatened to bat out Peshawar before Wahab Riaz (3 for 24) stopped them from running away with the match.
“It was a chaseable score, we needed a good start. We needed at least 40 to 45, hopefully 50, in the first six overs, which we did not get and they put lot of pressure on us. Because 12 an over for 14 overs is going to be quite tough even with Chris and Polly are there ,” explained Sangakkara.
“We gave it a good go fell a few runs short at the end. I thought we were outplayed by a very good side.”
Sangakkara also defended his decision to bat second. “All the sides right throughout, if you win the toss you chased. We too did the same. Not enough dew probably at the end as the ground staff did an outstanding job but that is the way it goes.
“If we limited them to 160 it would have been a completely different game. Setting a target is always tough in T20. Sometimes as you try to reach for too much and then you fall short. Unfortunately today it was not the case.”
Sangakkara, who had refused to tour Lahore after being one of members of the Sri Lanan team which was attacked in the city in 2009, rued not reaching the final.
“The Final is the final but you have to get there. We were not thinking of the final, as we were thinking of this game and trying to win this for Karachi, and let the final take care of itself. We always talk about staying in the present and that is what we tried to do today.”
Sangakkara was full of praise for Usama Mir, the legspinner, and hoped the youngster would get a national call sooner than later.
“Usama has been outstanding for us. If he improves his fitness and speed in the field, his ability to bowl leg-spin is going to be a great asset to Pakistan . Among the younger players, he was outstanding.”