Pakistan will be looking for an improved batting performance in the second One-Day International (ODI) today after a dismal show in the series-opener, which saw England romp home to a convincing 130-run win.
Experienced batsman Younus Khan hoped for a revival, urging the team to bounce back after being bowled out for just 130 after England put up a competitive 260 for seven courtesy captain Alastair Cook’s highest ODI score of 137.
“I hope there’s no panic,” said Younus. “We won’t panic because we haven’t batted poorly in the last four or five matches. We need to try our best and put this performance behind us.”
After the dizzying heights that Pakistan touched following a 3-0 Test series win over England, their performance in the first ODI was pedestrian by comparison with only Saeed Ajmal, who picked up five for 43, and Shahid Afridi (two for 57) impressing. Added to that was their poor batting performance, which saw the innings fold in just 35 overs, as Afridi top-scored with 28.
Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq acknowledged that his team had lost the plot in the series-opener but vowed a strong comeback to give England tough competition.
“Batting’s been a bit of concern for us,” said Misbah. “I think 261 wasn’t a big target and we have to show more discipline in the remaining matches. Batting under lights is difficult but we have to do better against the new ball. We’ll come back from this poor show and do things right.”
Let’s not get carried away: Cook
Cook, on the other hand, was wary of a backlash by Pakistan and hoped his team continues the good show after being blanked out in the Test series.
He was delighted with Steven Finn’s match-winning four for 43 in his series debut, which rocked the hosts’ batting line-up.
“It is only one game, so let us not get carried away too much,” said Cook. “It was a really good performance and we will enjoy the feeling and make sure we come back as a side [today].
“It has been a hard tour, it has been frustrating we have not played up to our potential but I’m glad we got off to a winning start and will hopefully continue the momentum.
“Finn was outstanding. At 40 for four it’s never over with Afridi coming in at number eight. But we played close to our potential which was pleasing.”
“England outclassed us and Finn and Cook were very impressive. When the captain plays well the whole team is inspired and Cook’s knock lifted England. We have to match them in body language and performance.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2012.
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