Captain Haq says the victory ‘really means a lot.’
By winning its second One Day International on Wednesday by a single run, Pakistan secured its first ever series victory against South Africa.
The match in St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth, was a thriller. Pakistani team captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, conceded that the closely-contested game put his players under pressure. “We knew we would have a chance if we had one good over so that South Africa needed more than a run a ball in the last over, especially if they had new batsmen at the crease,” he said.
Haq is obviously pleased with the results. “It really means a lot to us to beat South Africa in a bilateral series for the first time, especially doing it in South Africa,” he said, adding that the confidence the win has inspired would serve Pakistan well in future games. “It is a young side and now they believe they can win. That was what was lacking [previously].”
In a match reduced to 45 overs a side by morning rain, South Africa had fallen well behind the required run rate when A. B. de Villiers joined Hashim Amla. De Villiers slammed 74 runs off 45 balls as he and Amla put on 110 off 78 deliveries to reduce the chase to less than a run a ball. But de Villiers played one audacious shot too many to be caught at deep-backward square-leg after slamming 74 off 45.
He struggled to explain yet another failed run chase by his team, which have now lost their last seven matches when batting second. “I had the game in my hands with Hash out there with me,” said de Villiers. “I’ve finished a lot of games like that before and I was on a bit of a roll there. I should have caught my breath a little bit and looked at the situation again. It is very disappointing.”
Pakistan’s opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad was named Man of the Match. He made 102 runs. Shehzad, 22, hit eight fours and two sixes in a 112-ball innings, which ended unhappily when he hit the ball to mid-on and set off for a run before being sent back by batting partner Umar Akmal. He could not beat Imran Tahir’s throw to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and gestured angrily at Akmal. Shehzad, who made his first-class debut at 15, shared a third wicket stand of 124 off 134 balls with Sohaib Maqsood, who made 42 off 59 balls.
South Africa recently beat Pakistan 4-1 in the United Arab Emirates.