Sarfraz credits responsible batting for first SA win

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 07: Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan (R) speaks to Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan during the 1st One Day International match between Pakistan and New Zealand at Sheikh Zayed stadium on November 7, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed praised his team’s batsmen for playing responsibly as they chased down 267 to register a comfortable five-wicket win over South Africa in the first ODI on Saturday.

“The batting was very responsible,” Sarfraz said. “In the middle overs, Shadab (Khan) was great, as well as Imad (Wasim). And the way our fast bowlers bowled was very good.”

Almost all Pakistan batsmen were among the runs, with opener Imam-ul-Haq scoring 86 while Fakhar Zaman (25) and Babar Azam (49) also made important contributions.

‘TEAM EFFORT’:

Mohammad Hafeez’s unbeaten 71 ensured they were no late hiccups for the visitors. He was adjudged man-of-the match for his crucial knock.

“It was a team effort,” Hafeez said. “It was not a par score on this track, so we were confident chasing it. To be very honest, we were very sure as a team we should chase this one. The start given by Fakhar and Imam(-ul-Haq) was brilliant, Babar (Azam) gave us momentum.”

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis conceded that his team were short of the par score on the pitch but said his team should learn from their mistakes.

“The two guys (Amla and van der Dussen) batted really well, but perhaps there were 10 or 15 runs that we could have pushed a little harder for,” he said.

“Pakistan batted really well (too), you have to give credit where it’s due. Some great learnings for us, and we know where we can get better.

“An in-form Hashim Amla is great for us. Rassie played beautifully, he had intent right through his innings. We need to adapt. You’re not going to always get conditions for the fast bowlers.”

The second ODI of the five-match series will be played on Tuesday, 22 January in Durban.