India v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Chennai December 30, 2012

Misbah keen on a more clinical showing

ESPNcricinfo staff

While captain Misbah-ul-Haq was happy Pakistan managed to get off to a winning start in the three-match ODI series against India, he believes the team still has a lot to work on, especially in the field. Pakistan, he said, were fortunate to walk away with the six-wicket win in Chennai.

"Today we were lucky, India gave us a tough time in this situation. They lost five wickets early but still went on to make 227," Misbah was quoted as saying by PTI. "To win the next match, we will have to work hard and improve a fair bit. We have to really improve our fielding, and our death-over and Powerplay bowling. After these [changes to the] ODI rules especially, we have to improve the bowling.

"Also, we have to improve our batting performances; we couldn't chase the target down easily."

While Pakistan's victory-margin was ultimately comfortable, they lost a wicket off the first ball of their innings when Mohammad Hafeez shouldered arms to a Bhuvneshwar Kumar inswinger. From there on, it was slow and edgy progress for Pakistan, who were 21 for 2 in the 11th over when Azhar Ali lobbed a catch to midwicket. Opener Nasir Jamshed was firm though, batting through the innings for 101 not out, and Younis Khan was relatively positive for his 58, ensuring victory.

The hosts' top order too had struggled in this, one of the rare day ODIs in India. Junaid Khan had India reeling with a remarkable spell of swing bowling, in which he bowled Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh in the space of eight balls.

Both Misbah and India captain MS Dhoni said that while it was outstanding bowling, the toss too was important. "It was a good toss to win, but it was an excellent spell by Junaid. There was something for the bowlers but of you don't bowl in the right areas when the ball is seaming, you don't get results," Misbah said. Dhoni agreed: "I think it was the toss to start with. After that they bowled well. When the ball is seaming or swinging, if you pitch it in the right areas it works.

"If you see their bowlers, they bowled up which was good. Generally on these kind of wickets there will be temptation to bowl short because there will be bounce and carry, but they made sure they bowled up and left the batsmen in trouble."

With India tottering at 29 for 5 in the 10th, Suresh Raina and Dhoni began the rebuilding, adding 73 runs. Raina was out short of a half-century but Dhoni, in extremely humid conditions, paced his innings and finished unbeaten. He was 34 off 78 balls without a boundary, got to 50 off 86 and was battling dehydration when he launched, finishing with 113 off 125. The innings won him the Man of the Match award ahead of Jamshed.

Misbah had high praise for Dhoni: "At one stage, it looked as if India would be getting out for 125 but Dhoni's was a brilliant innings. It was more difficult to play in the first half. There was lot of moisture but very well played by Dhoni. He single-handedly took the game away from us, but in the end Nasir too played an extremely good knock."

Dhoni said he would have preferred to have India's top order clicking: "Overall quite happy that I got a century. But going down the order, batting at six or seven, and if you get a 100 ... actually you don't want an opportunity like that because you want your top order to perform."

One of the big concerns for India was the fitness of Kohli, whose ankle gave way under him while he was bowling, resulting in him over-extending his knee. Dhoni said the team would know the details of the injury in "some time". Later, a BCCI release confirmed that while an MRI scan revealed no serious damage, whether Kohli will play the next ODI - on January 3 in Kolkata - is yet to be determined. "All his major ligaments are fine. There is minimal injury fluid in his knee," the release said. "His condition will be monitored, and a decision on whether he will play the second ODI will be taken over the next couple of days."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 1, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    There is two positive during this series with India.First for the first time Pakistani batsmen are performing well under pressure.Secondly captain are giving chances to new players.I want to see Haries shohail inplace of Azhar Ali and Zulfiqar Babar in the side in culcutta. I knowMisbah as a captain will not take this gamble but by selecting these two,they can surprise India and boost the confidence ofthese players.Credit must go to Inzamul Haq and fielding coach for producing good result.Go green and be brave.Our prayers are with you.

  • Dummy4 on January 1, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    It does appear that the indian selectors and authorities are not paying any serious attention to developement of the bowling dept, the difference between the two countries is clearly visible from their quality of the bowling. Clearly, indian do not have real match winning bowlers, where as Pkaistan has kept on producing quality stuff over the years, the bowlers who broke the backbone of the indian batting line had very few macthes of experience behind them, but the quality was unmatchable. That definitely needs serious attention by BCCI. Other area where BCCI needs to look for is to try new leadership in the limited overs catagory of cricket, that is more demanding. By all means, my vote for Dhone as team leader in 5 days format is absolutely there.

  • Dummy4 on January 1, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Each and every thing is working fine axcept pakistan batting line up and order because you can afforad Azhar, younas and Misbah only when you are chasing 220 but not when you are chasing 300 or 290. A win covers every thing but we should point out our mistakes. One of umar akmal or umar amin should be in the team in place of either younas or ali.

    !-hafeez 2- Nasir 3- younas 4- Umar akmal/ Umar amin 5- misbah( only bcz of captin) 6- malik 7- kamran 8- junaid 9- umar gull 10- saeed ajman 11 - irfan

  • Dummy4 on January 1, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    Pakistan can take comfort that they are holding on to the progress they have made over last couple of years. But much hangs in the air about their batting consistancy if also to consider some will sooner leave with a gap while new comers really not settled while being sporadically experimented. Batters need time and experience on different grounds/conditions ( this includes fielding) to be viable in the long run.

    With Idia, I think they have run in to a bad patch lately, which happens with all. Their star batters are really not performing and they stil have to rebuild their bowling. But on the brighter note, they batting against a formidable Pakistan bowling which helps. One wld think, this is a good series, where win or loose may not be primay. Again, there are still couple of more matches and so far no indcation that either have been undone till it is over......

  • Dummy4 on December 31, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    So Saeed Ajmal doesn't completely rip apart the opposition in what, 2 matches, and some people say take him out? Beyond ridiculous. Ajmal is class and has put up good performances against India too before.

  • Ashok on December 31, 2012, 20:00 GMT

    If Kohli is unfit, it is a blessing in disguise. Get Pujara in the XI to replace Kohli. India badly needs Pujara even with Kohli fit. Why not announce this change immediately by getting Pujara over to Kolkatta. If Kohli somehow gets fit both Pujara & Kohli can play in the XI. India needs both these guys in XI to click if they have any chance of putting up a good show. Dhoni must not risk Kohli bowling his ribbish up & down stuff. Sehwag is the part time bowler. Kohli does not even appear on the radar as a bowler. India also needs a 5th bowler.Mishra is not the right spinner. Get Nadeem in the XI. Pujara & Nadeem will really answer India's needs. B.Kumar, Ishant & Shami/Dinda should be the seamers whilst Ashwin & Nadeem bowl their spinners.Ashwin needs to bat higher #5. He has correct technique & can play pace bowling -was an opening batsman. Yuvi & Dhoni can bat 6 & 7, followed by 4 bowlers. This will be a balanced side with talent & experience + 5 bowlers who can bowl economically!

  • Nasser on December 31, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Misbah said it. Had India won the toss and put Pakistan into bat, Pakistan would have lost this match, and as a Pakistani, I agree, simply because of our weak batting. The only real batsmen we have are Misbah-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Nasir Jamshed, and Mohammad Hafeez. Younis Khan is a splendid test batsman but a poor performer in ODIs. For India to get to 227 /6 from 29/5 in 10 overs, requires a batsman who arguably is the best ODI batsman in the world. Dhoni has an unbelievable average of 52.00 - in over 200 matches - just compare that to the Pakistanis. Dhoni has played, in my opinion the 2nd best ODI innings ever (the best being Kapil Dev, another Indian, in WC 1983 v NZ). Pakistan has been lucky to have won given their poor batting and really sub-standard fielding. Dhoni would have been out for 16 had the fielders been South African, Australian, New Zealander, or English. Overall though, Pakistan is superior to India, because of its bowling resources in both pace and spin.

  • mohammad on December 31, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Ajmal has become a good for nothing bowler in critical match against strong batting. Put him to rest and watch others playing. Need to give chance to young bowlers.

  • Dummy4 on December 31, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    if india make a big total then its gonna get difficult for pakistani batting line-up to chase it ......and to be honest misbah is doing to asad shafiq and harris sohail what inzimam did to asim kamal !

  • Nazeef on December 31, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    We Pakistanis can never appreciate any sensible player that we have in our team. We need the likes of Azhar, Younas and Misbah in our middle order for ODIs and Tests. And as far as Umar Akmal is concerned, i don't understand that what kind of talent people see in him . . . he's merely a slogger and nothing else and can't play a single proper cricketing shot at all. Perhaps if people pay more attention, all the tuk-tuks have done more for pakistani cricket than the boom-booms . . .