Pakistan opener and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez maintained that the team had the ability to bounce back and win the remaining One-Day Internationals (ODI) after England clinched the second match to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Pakistan, bowled out for 130 in the first match to lose by 130 runs, put on an improved batting display but could not overhaul a challenging 250-run total, which was inspired by England captain Alastair Cook’s second consecutive century.
Misbahul Haq failed to match his counterpart’s efforts and was dismissed for a 59-ball 47 as Pakistan lost track after being well-set at 179 for four, needing another 72 in the last 11 overs.
Hafeez said batting under lights was difficult but admitted Pakistan could not carry on the winning momentum that saw them clinch the Test series 3-0 prior to the ODIs.
“The ball was seaming more and was spinning a bit more later,” said Hafeez. “England bowled really well. It became a bit difficult batting second. We were definitely thinking of coming harder in the ODIs as well. Credit goes to the England team. They really played good cricket. And Cook has played a solid knock in the last two ODIs.
“We can still come back hard because we believe in our team. We have a lot of match-winners in our side and anybody can come in and win the game for Pakistan,” said Hafeez who has scored five and 26 in the first two matches.
Asked why the captain and coach did not attend the press-conference, opener Mohammad Hafeez said, “When you do well and even when you don’t do well, you have to face the media. It is not that nobody wants to face the media.”
‘Fielding was the difference’
Misbah, who was left ruing the dismissal of Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi as both looked like steering the team past the finish-line with the captain, said fielding remained a concern.
Umar, wicket-keeping for the side instead of a specialist filling the role, let off Cook on 28 with the miss proving to be a costly one.
“The batsmen showed improvement,” said Misbah, who lost two successive ODIs for the first time since taking over as captain in October 2010. “But the fielding was the main difference. We also lost wickets in a cluster.”
Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 23 runs with the dismissal of Afridi exposing the tail. Abdul Rehman consumed 12 deliveries for a single, failing to get bat on ball, and as the run-rate soared, Misbah lost his wicket to an out-of-character shot.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2012.
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