File photo of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. (AP Photo)
Dubai: A disgruntled Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Thursday urged his team to move on after gifting a one-run win to South Africa and called on his batsmen to rectify their mistakes.
Pakistan snatched the proverbial "defeat from the jaws of a win" in the first of five one-day internationals in Sharjah on Wednesday. Chasing a modest 184-run target, Pakistan were in sight of victory at 165 for 4 in the 41st over, but lost their last six wickets off just 39 balls in the space of 17 runs.
But Misbah said Friday's second game in Dubai was altogether a different prospect. "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," said Misbah.
For South Africa, 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.
Misbah said he was disappointed at his batsmen's failures. "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, whose dismissal for 31 in the 36th over proved to be the turning point.
Ahmed Shehzad set the tone with a confident 58 but once he and Misbah 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.
"I think we could say that my dismissal and then those of Amin and Umar were crucial, and after that Afridi was left alone and we wanted him to stay there till the end," said Misbah.
Misbah urged his batsmen to learn from Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe (16 not out) who added an invaluable 52 runs for South Africa's ninth wicket. "Our batsmen should also rise to the challenge in such situations," said Misbah. "We just needed two runs an over and one and a half runs per over, and I don't know what was going through the batsmen's mind; maybe, they over-relaxed a little bit."
South African captain AB de Villiers said his team never lost hope. "South Africans always believe they can turn things around. When you get a sniff, you have drive it home," said De Villiers, who praised legspinner Imran tahir for his return of 3-45.
"Immi [Tahir] was fantastic. Have to also give credit to Tsotsobe for his two wickets. Immi followed him and did his magic. "De Villiers said South Africa's poor batting display 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 for 8 to post 183 in Sharjah.
"I believe we will get there and keep working on it. It is a funny old game and we have seen this before and things can turn around very quickly. "The remaining matches will be played in Abu Dhabi [November 6 and 8] and Sharjah [November 11]. The teams will also play two Twenty20 internationals in Dubai on November 13 and 15.