'Keeping it simple' works for Amin and Pakistan
Umar Amin, the Pakistan middle-order batsman, has said his team had a simple plan coming into Thursday's game against Zimbabwe: "play to potential to win the game". Pakistan entered the contest one match down and were in a do-or-die situation. Their 90-run win means the series goes to a decider on Saturday.
Pakistan lost the opening one-dayer on Tuesday by seven wickets, their first defeat in the past 15 years to Zimbabwe. They came back strongly, though, with Mohammad Hafeez leading the way with a dominating, unbeaten 136 and Umar Amin playing the supporting act with a pivotal half-century to lift Pakistan to 299.
"After losing the first game there was some pressure on us but the way we bounced back today shows that we are a great team," Amin said. "Everybody was focused on today's game and wanted to win. The plan was simple, to play to our potential. Sometime it does get little bit difficult, because such defeats are remembered for long. So it was crucial, and also we had to win to keep the series alive.
"We knew they would come strong at us and we would need to play at our best. The game plan was simply to stick to the basics though, and do the best we could to win."
Pakistan were in some trouble at one point, at 84 for 3, with both openers as well as captain Misbah-ul-Haq dismissed. Amin thereafter produced a 129-run fourth-wicket partnership with Mohammad Hafeez to give Pakistan a strong total. For Amin, who debuted in 2010, this was his first half-century in his eighth ODI, his 59 coming off 71 balls with six boundaries including a six before he was run out.
"If you talk about my batting, the situation demanded me to stick in there and get used to the conditions," Amin said. "They are not as pacey as our bowlers, but still they stuck with the basics, hit the right areas and utilised the conditions well. They didn't give us easy balls to hit boundaries, but you always have a game plan against any bowling and for me it was simple - to stay there and make the best out of my good start. In the end I got my first international fifty and it's a great feeling."
Pakistan were wary of Zimbabwe after their successful chase on Tuesday, and with the openers repeatedly doing well in the limited-overs matches so far on the tour, Pakistan were keen for early breakthroughs. "Of course the target was to get the openers out as quickly as we could because we knew they are the ones in form," Amin said. "So it was crucial to get the wickets of Masakadza and Sibanda, that was what was required at the time."