Colombo: For Pakistan, it was a tough situation on Tuesday. First, it was a must-win match, and then the mighty Australians were the opponents. And when you take into consideration the fact that in their last match, Mohammed Hafeez and Co. were thrashed by the Indians, one understands how difficult it was.
But their 32-run win proved to be enough at the end of the day. As India failed to restrict the South Africans within 121 runs, the Pakistan fans erupted in the stands of the Premadasa, in Colombo. Pakistan thus qualified for the World T20 semis.
In such a pressure situation, staying positive always helps. Hafeez echoed the same thought during the post-match media conference.
“The best thing about us was we stayed positive right through… That helped in achieving victory today. We are not thinking about the future…We are taking one game at a time,” the Pakistan captain said.
Hafeez hailed the effort by their bowlers. The Pakistan spinners, led by Saeed Ajmal, did a brilliant job to restrict Australia to 117 for seven in their 20 overs. “It was a great effort by our bowlers. Today, we got the total we set out to achieve… The wicket was turning and our spinners just stuck to their task.”
Picking Ajmal as the best, Hafeez also had words of encouragement for Raza Hasan. “We knew the Aussies would find it tough to tackle our spinners. Ajmal has been the best… Raza Hasan is also coming up very well. He has played a lot of T20 cricket in the domestic circuit and knows how to go about it.”
Such was the domination of spin that Hafeez used just two overs of pace during the Australia innings. He used Umar Gul in the 18th and the 20th over. Was it a conscious decision? “We were sure that Gul would deliver whatever the circumstances. We were proved right. He has loads of experience and that counts,” said Hafeez.
When pointed out that two youngsters, Hasan and Nasir Jamshed, played key roles in the team’s victory, Hafeez said: “Everyone has been playing his role in this format. Both played brilliantly today… We’ve always believed in their capabilities and were proved right today.”
Hafeez also said that winning against Australia in the series played in the lead-up to the World T20, gave them the confidence. “We had a long meeting after losing to India and realised we had to work hard. Beating the Australians in the UAE helped… The batsmen did their job superbly and the bowlers complemented their efforts.”
Man of the Match Hasan was happy with his performance. “I want to thank Allah. It was my first tournament for Pakistan. It’s a mega-event. I am really happy at the moment, as Australia is a big team.” Hasan said.