Pak vs SA: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who scored a century in the first ODI against South Africa, said that he wanted to play on his strengths and build a partnership with opener Imam-ul-Haq to take his side over the line.
Rassie van der Dussen’s ton went in vain as Pakistan survived Anrich Nortje’s havoc to beat South Africa by three wickets in the first ODI on Friday. With this thrilling win, Pakistan has taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. The second game will be played on Sunday at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
South Africa was reduced to 55/4, but the hosts recovered well thanks to David Miller’s fifty and van der Dussen’s hundred, and the Proteas posted 273 in the 50 overs.
However, Azam’s masterclass ton and gutsy knock by Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan ensured the visitors don’t falter in the game which saw too many twists and turns.
Chasing 274, Pakistan didn’t have a good start as they lost Fakhar Zaman in the third over but skipper Babar and Imam-ul-Haq stitched a 177-run stand to revive the innings.
“When I went in, I just want to play to my strengths. I was hoping to get a partnership with Imam and we got a big one. To be honest, when the wickets fell I was nervous and the pressure was on with that Nortje spell, and he bowled extremely well. Hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes. We need to take the confidence from this win into the next game and hopefully close the series,” Azam said after the match.
The visiting skipper also lauded his bowlers for restricting Proteas at 273 despite Van der Dussen’s unbeaten 123 runs.
“The wicket had a bit of moisture and we tried to utilize that, so credit to our bowlers for capitalising on that with the new ball. They took wickets in the powerplay and restricted them to 270 odd. I just told the bowlers to hit the hard length and not bowl boundary balls. We stuck to our plan and we restricted them,” he said.