Saturday, 21 May 2022

Melbourne win a ‘special, special blessing’ : Hafeez

MELBOURNE: Pakistan’s stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez called his side’s One-day International (ODI) series-levelling win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) a “special, special blessing”, and said his bowlers accepting responsibility set the tone in the first innings. It was Pakistan’s first victory against Australia in 17 matches across formats since January 2005. “This win was a special, special blessing,” Hafeez said at the post-match press conference. “Everyone took that responsibility to do that job for Pakistan. Last game, we had our moments but we couldn’t continue that pressure. We had a good team meeting and realised the importance of taking responsibility. Stats have changed, history has changed. “Last game, when we had to put the pressure, our bowlers couldn’t respond. In this match, our bowlers didn’t let go of that attacking tendency. For me as a captain, and even the coach, we had to ensure we played attacking and positive cricket. We couldn’t be negative and think about the past.”

Hafeez also said his bowlers assessed conditions early and chasing more than 250 would have been “very difficult”. “It was important to restrict Australia to a score where we as a batting unit, could chase that, 250 was a par score on this pitch because it was not coming on to the bat,” Hafeez said. “We kept the pressure on and that really worked for us. “If we had to chase a 250-plus score, it would have been very difficult. The bowlers got the wickets at the right time, which gave us the confidence to do everything we wanted to.” Hafeez wasn’t part of Pakistan’s initial ODI squad, but received a late call-up from the team management and the captain, Azhar Ali. “I was never negative, I knew I’ll be back in the team at any stage,” Hafeez said. “My performance was not good at the domestic level, but the management trusted my ability and asked me to come here and add the value to the team.”

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