Misbah, bowlers set up 96-run win
Pakistan 231 for 7 (Misbah 83*, Farhat 49, Haq 3-39) beat Scotland 135 (Coetzer 32, Ajmal 3-25) by 96 runs
Pakistan began their tour of England on a good note, registering a 96-run win over Scotland in the first ODI between the two sides. In Edinburgh on Friday, Pakistan successfully defended a total of 231 for 7, as Scotland went down to the bowling of Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan.
Chasing 232, Scotland had a nervy start, losing their first wicket for no score when Neil Carter was bowled by Junaid Khan in the second over. Mohammad Irfan's pace and bounce created problems for the hosts early on, but Kyle Coetzer brought his county experience to the fore, playing shots and hitting boundaries early in the innings. Josh Davey also hit a few fours before he was smartly caught down the leg-side by Akmal. The wicket-keeper was involved again when Irfan got Coetzer caught behind, leaving Preston Mommsen and Moneeb Iqbal to rebuild.
The pressure began to show in the 28th over, when a mix-up left Iqbal stranded and he was run-out for 10 off 42 balls. The long-awaited introduction of Saeed Ajmal restricted the Scottish batsmen as they looked to push singles and hit boundaries to cope with the rising run-rate.
Scotland had one card left to play - Richie Berrington, who had scored a T20 century against Bangladesh last year, came to bat at No. 7. However, Berrington's time at the crease was short-lived as he was caught on the midwicket boundary off Ajmal for just 10. By the time Murphy arrived at the crease, the game was all but done, and Scotland needed some T20-style hitting from their last three batsmen to have any hopes of winning.
Pakistan, however, had other ideas. Ajmal had Mommsen stumped with ease off the last ball of the 36th over. Murphy was trapped leg-before by Junaid Khan off the first ball of the 37th over, and he followed it up by dismissing Majid Haq for a first-ball duck. Junaid narrowly missed out on his own hat-trick bowling to number eleven Wardlaw, who got a bottom edge playing a drive. Taylor hit a few boundaries before Ajmal finished the rout.
Earlier, the visitors won the toss and chose to bat on a decent pitch with Imran Farhat and Nasir Jamshed taking the crease. Pakistan cruised early on, playing their way in and punishing the bad balls with straight drives and pulls for early boundaries whilst looking very comfortable. Too easy in fact, as Jamshed pushed a nothing drive into the covers off a decent Rob Taylor delivery to give Preston Mommsen an easy catch at cover.
Mohammad Hafeez took his time to play himself in while Farhat went swinging from the other end. Scotland brought spin on early with new face Matt Machan, in an attempt to keep the runs down to singles rather than boundaries. Pakistan, though, had patience and backed their ability to score runs in the middle order. But Hafeez was out to an errant cut shot after smashing a boundary, and Umar Amin fell slogging for 3.
Majid Haq was brought on with his experience and took an early wicket to become Scotland's leading ODI wicket-taker, while Machan got rid of Farhat, who dragged one on. Pakistan were reduced to 117 for 5, and with runs ticking at under four an over it was left to captain Misbah-ul-Haq and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal to rebuild the innings and set a competitive total.
During the batting Powerplay, Akmal nudged the ball around gaps but played one safe shot to many, trapped in front by seamer Neil Carter. At six wickets down, Misbah had work to do with the bowlers, as Scotland looked to keep him off strike. With one wicket down and 22 runs scored, the batting Powerplay had backfired on Pakistan.
In the last 10 overs, there were too many precious dot balls for Scotland. Pakistan knew that anything around 220 would give their bowlers a good chance. There were some interesting shot-selections, as paddle scoops were attempted with varying degree of success. Misbah controlled most of the strike and reached his half-century in the 45th over. Scotland continued to rotate the bowlers which meant Pakistan couldn't establish any rhythm with their batting stuttering toward the 200 mark. Saeed Ajmal played an entertaining run-a-ball innings of 28, full of big swings and boundaries, before being clean bowled playing one paddle too many.
Misbah finished strong on an unbeaten 83. Misbah attacked Carter in the penultimate over which went for 17, but Iain Wardlaw bowled an excellent final over with four dot balls, a lucky four, and a single. Pakistan accelerated well at the end to finish on 231 for 7