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November 2, 2013
Misbah-ul-Haq warned his team against complacency after their series-leveling, 66-run win against South Africa in the second ODI, stating there were still problems in Pakistan's batting that needed to be rectified.
"We shouldn't relax after winning and we still need to improve. Our batsmen are getting good starts but aren't converting them so we need to rectify that," Misbah said.
"We have a very tough series on our hands, they are very tough opponents and are going to give us a hard time," he added.
Pakistan, who lost six wickets for 17 runs in their one-run defeat in the first ODI, put up an improved score of 209 in the second match. However, apart from Ahmed Shehzad, who scored his third consecutive ODI fifty, none of the batsmen crossed an individual score of 30. Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah both got starts and shared substantial partnerships with Shehzad, but their failure to carry on until the latter half of the innings saw Pakistan struggle towards the end.
Their bowling, however, more than made up for it, getting South Africa all out for a score of below 200 for the second successive time. Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Tanvir got key breakthroughs, but it was the spin attack of Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez that smothered the South African batting. Between them, the spinners bowled 23.4 overs, conceding 66 runs and picking up six wickets, including four of South Africa's top six batsmen.
"It was a really good performance especially after getting out for a low score, our bowlers did the job for us again," Misbah said. "[A score of] 220-230 is par on this ground, whenever you score 200+ you have a chance here, especially if you get early wickets. The way Hafeez started, he bowled very well and Afridi took some important wickets and Ajmal put the pressure on. They were well supported by the fast bowlers. Tanvir got the first wicket and Irfan came back to take more wickets."
Afridi followed up his three-wicket haul in the first ODI with figures of 3 for 26 in the second game. Introduced into the attack in the 22nd over, he dismissed Faf du Plessis off the first ball, and then had AB de Villiers edging the ball to Umar Akmal in his next over to turn the match in Pakistan's favour.
"We learnt a lot from the last game. Misbah and the management realised that we lost the last game badly and we did a great job today," Afridi said.
AB de Villiers, South Africa's captain, admitted that his batsmen failed against "some of the best bowlers in the world".
"Our bowlers bowled really and we had great intensity in the field," de Villiers said. "It's all about attitude and we had that in the field. McLaren, Morkel and Tahir bowled very well and I'm proud of the way we played in the first half. Morkel started with great intensity. We have a few issues in the batting and it's up to us to turn it around, I'm very disappointed and Pakistan were too good for us tonight, no excuses for us. We have to face some of the best bowlers in the world and we weren't good enough."
De Villiers backed his team to make a comeback in the series and said that he was enjoying the experience of leading the side.
"To be very honest, I am feeling pressure," said De Villiers after Friday's game. "I think any captain that leads a proud nation like South Africa and the Proteas team feels pressure and I do feel pressure. But I am enjoying my captaincy more than ever and feel that I am getting good response from the guys, especially on this tour, it didn't show tonight but I have full confidence that it will come through in the next one. They have two bowlers in the top five in one-day rankings and it's world-class spinners we are playing against, but once again I have full confidence that we will come back."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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