SA v PAK 2018-19: Was confident chasing the "below-par" target, says Mohammad Hafeez

Hafeez played a very fine knock of 71 to see Pakistan home.

The batting allrounder stood out for visitors | Getty

Mohammad Hafeez struck a very fine half-century to help Pakistan win the first One-day International against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. The veteran right-hander scored a 63-ball 71 in tourists' 267 runs to chase and ensure a 1-0 lead for his team in the five-match ODI series. 

Hafeez, who was later adjudged Player-of-the-Match for his efforts, also said that perhaps Proteas' miscalculated the right target for what was more like a subcontinental surface. 

Both Hashim Amla(108*) and Rassie van der Dussen(93) batted quite attritional as the home side managed just 266 in their 50 overs despite losing only two wickets. 

"It's a team effort. It was not a par score on this track, so we were confident chasing it. To be very honest, we were very sure as a team we should chase this one. The start given by Fakhar and Imam(-ul-Haq) was brilliant, Babar (Azam) gave us momentum," Hafeez was quoted saying. 

Before captain Sarfaraz Ahmed congratulated his team on their first win of the tour and credited the batsmen for pulling off the run-chase. 

"The batting was very responsible. In the middle overs, Shadab (Khan) was great, as well as Imad (Wasim). And the way our fast bowlers bowled was very good," he said. 

Earlier, leg-spinner Shadab Khan (1/41) and Hasan Ali (1/42) bowled really well in the middle overs and didn't allow the South African batsmen to accelerate despite getting well set. 

South African skipper also reflected back at his team's overall performance on the night and said, "The two guys (Amla and van der Dussen) batted really well, but perhaps there were 10 or 15 runs that we could have pushed a little harder for."

"They bowled better than us over fifty overs today. Pakistan batted really well [too], you have to give credit where it's due. Some great learnings for us, and we know where we can get better."

"An in-form Hashim Amla is great for us. Rassie played beautifully, he had intent right through his innings. We need to adapt. You're not going to always get conditions for the fast bowlers," he concluded. 

The series now shifts to Durban for the second ODI on Tuesday, January 22. 

(Inputs from ICC)


By Kashish Chadha - 20 Jan, 2019

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