Yuvi was exceptional: Hafeez
India-Pakistan cricketing encounters never cease to captivate and excite those involved in them. Irrespective of the strengths of the teams or the context, the matches end on a riveting note.
After Pakistan pipped India to the post in Bengaluru to take a 1-0 lead in the series, India came back fighting to draw level at Ahmedabad. Although his team ended 11 runs short of the humongous 193-run target, Pakistan skipper, Mohammad Hafeez, was a pleased man when it came to his team’s efforts.
“I will credit the team for the performance they have given in the two matches,” Hafeez said. “There are many positives that we take from this series. Mohammad Irfan is one of them and so is Shoaib Malik’s return to form.”
After winning the toss, Hafeez was confident of restricting India to less than 170, which was gettable on the flat Motera deck. However, his plans were thrown out of the window by Yuvraj Singh’s onslaught. The left-hander plundered 72 runs in 36 balls with four boundaries and seven sixes.
“In this match, we didn’t bowl well in the middle overs. We couldn’t do the basics right and that cost us too many runs in the end,” Hafeez rued.
“Yuvi was exceptional and his partnership with MS Dhoni was the turning point of the match. We didn’t expect them to get to 190. We thought if we could restrict them to 165-170, it would be a chaseable target.”
While Hafeez praised his batsmen’s intent while going for the huge target, he felt the middle and death overs did them in.
“The way we approached the target was very positive. We did well in the first six overs, but I personally feel that we didn’t score enough runs in the phase between seventh to 10th over despite having wickets in hand. Although we recovered from there, when we needed 50-odd runs from the last four overs, all we had in our minds was to go after the bowlers.”
With Pakistan needing 47 runs from 24 balls, Ashoke Dinda pulled the match in India’s favour with his second spell, which yielded 12 runs and three wickets in two overs.
“Ashoke Dinda bowled two excellent overs and played his role brilliantly at the death,” Hafeez acknowledged. “He bowled some good yorkers, especially in the second last over of the innings. We thought that if we get one loose ball, we can win the match with a big hit, but he didn’t give us any. He bowled really well under pressure.”