The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Skippers praise Hafeez

Manchester: Pakistan captain Rashid Latif attributed Tuesday’s tense victory over England in the opening match of the ODI series to his team’s positive attitude, adding his bowlers were successful in implementing his strategy.

Pakistan won by two wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

“We won because of our positive attitude and some good bowling in the middle by Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez,” Latif said.

Pakistan restricted England to 204 for nine after the hosts won the toss in the day-night encounter and only some careless batting at the end turned what should have been a comfortable victory into a close match.

“The ball lost colour which made it difficult to spot under the lights. Had this match been played in the day we would have won easily,” Latif insisted.

“Our strategy was to target the middle-order because we knew Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick are experienced players and we succeeded in what we were trying to do.”

Hafeez top-scored with a one-day best of 69 and said afterwards: “I just followed the tips from my coach (Javed Miandad) who said to stay in and hit the loose ball.”

Vaughan, in his first ODI as England captain, said: “We let ourselves down with our batting. We were 30-40 runs short.”

“Hafeez was the difference. We had guys who made 20s or 30s. We had the best of the pitch and should have got 250,” he added.

Pakistan were without the suspended Shoaib Akhtar, who was completing a two-match ban for ball-tampering. Latif said while he would like to see him back, Tuesday’s win showed that Pakistan were more than a one-man team. “I will be delighted if Shoaib is back but this was a collective effort. I don’t want us to rely on one person.”

At the end of the match there was a mass invasion on the ground by Pakistan fans, despite pre-match pleas from Latif, who urged them to stay off the field.

Vaughan later said: “Someone in the hierarchy should look into this because one of these days a player is going to get hurt. I hope it never happens but it only takes just one of them to have an object in their hands.”

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