Having got a lot of flak for their shocking one-run defeat in the first ODI, Pakistan have a chance to make things right when they take on South Africa in the second game of the five-match series at the Dubai International cricket Stadium on Friday.
Chasing a below-par score of 184, Pakistan were 165 for 4 in the 41st over and looked certain to go 1-0 up in the series before their batsmen caved in terribly, losing their last six wickets off just 39 balls in the space of 17 runs.
After Saeed Ajmal's magical spell (4 for 30) that restricted the visitors to 183, Ahmed Shehzad set the tone for Pakistan's chase with a confident 58. But once he and Misbah-ul-Haq (31) fell, Pakistan's batting collapsed. Umar Akmal (18), Umar Amin (20) and Shahid Afridi (9) fell in the space of 11 runs before Morne Morkel bowled Mohammad Irfan to seal an unlikely win for South Africa.
Misbah-ul-Haq was although disappointed about his team's showing in the first game, he said it's a thing of the past and it's time to concentrate on the next game. "If we keep recalling about what happened in the last match it will be difficult. We must forget that and all our players should play the next match as a new game," Misbah said.
Misbah expressed his disappoint over the batsmen's failures, saying the last six batsmen should have shown more application. "The last six batsmen should have batted, knowing how many runs were needed to score. It is very disappointing that they played very irresponsible shots," he said "I think it is high time players understand how to play under such situations," added Misbah.
South Africa, on the other hand, snatched a win from the jaws of defeat and their skipper praised his team's efforts. "South Africans always believe we can turn things around. When you get a sniff you have drive it home," said De Villiers.
But de Villiers said the way his team batted was unfathomable. "I cannot find the reason, sometimes we get low scores and sometimes we play well but I won't stop believing we will play every match and every game like we always do," said De Villiers whose team recovered from 129-8 to post 183 in Sharjah.
For the visitors, Wayne Parnell shone with both bat and ball, hitting a career best 56 in South Africa's 183 all out in 49.5 overs before taking 3 for 41 in his eight overs. He was deservedly declared Man-of-the-Match for his efforts.
While South Africa will not want to tinker with the winning combination, Pakistan too might play the same eleven, giving the same players another chance to resurrect themselves.
Pakistan: 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (Capt), 5 Umar Amin, 6 Umar Akmal (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Irfan.
South Africa: 1 Colin Ingram, 2 Graeme Smith, 3 JP Duminy, 4 Faf du Plessis, 5 AB de Villiers (Capt & wk), 6 David Miller, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 11 Imran Tahir.