Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 2nd Twenty20, Harare September 18, 2011

Misbah pleased with satisfying tour

ESPNcricinfo staff

Misbah-ul-Haq will leave Zimbabwe satisfied after Pakistan's clean sweep of the hosts across all formats. Three weeks ago, he had said the most important aspect of the tour for Pakistan, apart from winning, would be to blood young players, re-introduce others and integrate as a team. After six victories, one Test, three ODI and two Twenty20s, Misbah believes they have successfully achieved all their goals.

"We've really had some good teamwork, especially today in a close game," he said, after Pakistan's five-run in the second T20. "Everyone performed well, especially in bowling and fielding."

Over the course of the series, Pakistan gave debuts to three players, fast bowler Junaid Khan, legspinner Yasir Shah and batsman Rameez Raja and only Raja did not get enough opportunity to impress. Younis Khan, Sohail Tanvir and Imran Farhat enjoyed successful comebacks and only Shoaib Malik struggled for runs. But, it was one of the old guard, Mohammad Hafeez, who earned highest praise from his captain.

"Mohammad Hafeez has been tremendous over the whole tour. He has contributed with the bat, he has contributed with the ball and I think you can say he was the main factor for us today." Hafeez was Pakistan's only centurion in the one-off Test, highest run-scorer in both limited-overs series and highest wicket-taker in the T20s, with seven scalps at an average of 3.00.

Hafeez's half-century and three wickets in the second T20 sealed the win for Pakistan, after it looked like they had finished 30 runs short. "We were looking for anything around 150-170, we were 20-30 runs short," Misbah said. Hafeez's triple strike winded Zimbabwe, who fell behind the required run-rate and eventually needed 20 runs off the last over.

Sohail was entrusted with defending the total and was left to save six runs off the last ball. His low full toss outside the off stump ensured Zimbabwe fell short of the target. "The plan was to bowl a yorker outside the off stump and he bowled tremendously there," Misbah said. "That ball was excellent, it was really on the spot."

Although Pakistan dominated Zimbabwe through the series, Misbah said he noticed improvement in the hosts and felt they put his team under pressure in Sunday's match. "They [Zimbabwe] did not panic, they just played cool, that was the main danger for us and that's why they came so close."

Brendan Taylor, the Zimbabwe captain, took heart from the way his team performed despite the defeat. "We showed better character, there is no comparison compared to the last game," he said. "All credit to Tatenda [Taibu], he showed his experience. Unfortunately no one could really stick it out with him and get us over the line, but there were many more positives today."

Taibu's undefeated 37 was the most composed knock from anyone of the Zimbabwe batsmen and he came close to winning the match. "We could have got some more singles, singles are very important in T20 and we tend to forget that sometimes," Taylor said. "If guys ran harder and pushed the fielders harder, then over twenty overs you can make five runs. It's frustrating but in the end it was a good game of cricket."

Taylor said the two instances, in the first ODI and the second T20, where Zimbabwe came close to winning, gave them hope that things are getting better. "It's a massive boost for us to know that we are playing good cricket but we need to be a little more consistent."

Zimbabwe have little more than three weeks off before hosting New Zealand and then travelling there as well. "We will have two and half weeks of solid work, on our fitness and specifics. We are going to go away and work even harder than we did for this series. We are willing to learn and we are willing to get better fast so we can prove to the world that we can be competitive."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tom on September 20, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    This was always going to be a practice series for the coming hard fought one against SriLanka and England. Sri Lanka has a very good batting line up and on batting tracks it'll be a struggle for Pak bowlers.

  • Ahsan on September 20, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    @Nduru: As a player, I personally said before the series that they'll win atleast one limited over game with the combination Pakistan had. Just lack of experience & patience denied them victory, the way they played against Bangladesh, victory was quite likely against Pakistan with second string bowling.

  • Dummy4 on September 19, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    I am waiting for PCB to issue a showcause notice to Hafeez for scoring too many runs.

  • Dummy4 on September 19, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    I think they should appoint M Hafeez as the new captain ,so that he can be groomed for the next world cup. Misbah has only a couple of years left in him.....

  • Dummy4 on September 19, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    bring back imran nazir for t20 n may bw for odi.....

  • Owais on September 19, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    I think Shoaib Malik and Sohail Tanvir have been given their chance. Now they should be sent back to the domestic cricket to get their skills polished a bit more. The rest of the team looks okay. If Umar Akmal can keep in T20's, nothing like it. I think this should be the strategy. For ODI's and Tests, they should have both Sarfaraz and Adnan Akmal competing or backing each other. There has to be a positive competition like we saw between Rashid Latif and Moin Khan. It was nice to see Younus Khan coming back into his groove and providing spine along with Misbah. In bowling, Aizaz Cheema, Sohail Khan and Junaid Khan all showed their class especially Cheema. Now he can complement the first line duo of Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz. Instead of Shoaib Malik they should consider some genuine all rounder like Yasir Arafat, Hamad Azam and Abdul Razaq. Finally team Pakistan defnitely needs Afridi in ODI's and T20's as he is one of the best bowlers in our lineup along with Saeed, Hafeez and Gul.

  • Andrew on September 19, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    OK, so the records will show that Zim were beated in all six games of the series. BUT, a closer look shows that with a little more experience, Zim could have avoided the test defeat, won the first ODI and won the second T20. They could even have chased down the score in the 3rd ODI if they had managed the chase better. That would have left them with a much better series result. So they were not far off and with a bit more exposure and experience, they will start to turn those close losses into wins like other teams can (and our old team used to).

  • Dummy4 on September 19, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    The worst performers in this tour were Sohail Tanvir ( giving away too many runs, loose deliveries with no control), yasir shah 9 average spinner), shoaib malik ( didnt score given the opportunities). Plus sohail khan who is following the footpath of shaoib akhtar, too many muscles but no agile ( poor fielder). IMRAN FARHAT !! he souldnt be in the team i the first place. All fluke shots even against a team like AIM. not at all opening talent. Parchiii . Kick him out.

  • Dummy4 on September 18, 2011, 23:33 GMT

    I believe within the limited resources Zimbabwe did quite a good job. They could give Pakistan a very hard time if their catching would have been up-to-the-mark. The fielding department is the one where you don't need experience much and they can improve it like they were in the past. In bowling Jarvis and Price were priceless. Chigumbara was good also. Vitori has good potential but he still seems quite raw as compared to Jarvis. In batting, they need to put Taibu up the order. I believe no. 4 is his best place to bat. Taylor should come at no. 3. Because when no. 5 is coming to bat (particularly in series against Pak) the situation was always being dictated by Pakistan bowlers so it is better for them to come at the top where they can dictate the game.

    Best of luck against Kiwis...

  • Dummy4 on September 18, 2011, 21:32 GMT

    Best of luck vs New Zealand

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