BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq turned on his "totally lost" top order after another poor display with the bat left his side struggling to qualify for the Champions Trophy semi-finals.
Pursuing, in Misbah's words, "a gettable" target of 235 against South Africa, Pakistan collapsed to 167 all out during a 67-run defeat by the Proteas in a day/night clash at Edgbaston on Monday.
This followed their slump to 170 all out in an opening two-wicket Group B loss to the West Indies at The Oval last week.
Now even victory over arch-rivals India at Edgbaston on Saturday may not be enough to take Pakistan through to the last four.
The 39-year-old Misbah made a career-best 96 not out against the West Indies and was again Pakistan's top-scorer on Monday with 55.
Nasir Jamshed followed up his 50 at The Oval with 42 at Edgbaston but Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik again all fell for single figure scores.
And bringing in Umar Amin for Asad Shafiq, out for nought against the West Indies, made little difference with the newcomer only managing 16 on Monday.
Misbah was jeered by an overwhelmingly pro-Pakistan 25,000 capacity crowd at the post-match presentation ceremony, not that he had any complaints about his reception.
"One day it is 'Pakistan Zindabad' (long live Pakistan), the next day it is boos," Misbah told reporters.
"When you produce these sort of performances, they (the fans) have the right to say this. The players need to take responsibility.
"If you are not delivering as a player, the team will suffer. At the moment, no-one is justifying their place in the team. No-one is getting runs.
"You think about selection after the tournament. We thought these were the best six batsmen in Pakistan when we came here.
"Again, it is about application and batsmen applying themselves. All the responsibility lies with the players.
"It's really difficult when your batting is performing like that. It's really disappointing."
What made Misbah really upset on Monday was that the condition of a dry pitch, far from being typically English, was akin to those his side played on at home.
"Even in mid-innings, it was less than six-an-over and it was very much like a Pakistan pitch," he said.
"We've played time and time again on these sort of pitches. You can't say the wicket was difficult."
The one consolation so far this tournament for Pakistan has been their performances in the field, with aggressive bowling backed up by keen fielding.
Pakistan's attack nearly bowled the team to an unlikely victory over the West Indies and they again did well to hold South Africa to 234 for nine when the Proteas, who had four batsmen run out, were eyeing a much larger total.
"I think the positive is our bowling. They really, really are bowling very well," said Misbah. "Our fielding is really improving. That is the biggest positive.
"But as a batting unit, I think you can say it's totally lost," he added.
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