Kolkata: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Thursday credited a team effort with a special mention for his bowlers after his team won the crucial second onedayer at the Eden Gardens here to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series against India.
"Our opening batsmen gave us a fantastic start and our bowlers bowled really well to take quick wickets at crucial intervals, which allowed us this victory. Victory against India is always big and surely this is a big victory for us," Misbah said in the post match press conference.
He was, however, critical of his middle order for their failure to capitalise on the 141-run opening partnership and conceded that Pakistan target of 250 runs was chaseable.
"After the opening partnership, 290-300 was always on the cards. The pitch was good but our middle order failed to capitalise. The target of 250 was not a winning total. The middle order did not play the way it should have."
"We knew we will have to fight and our bowlers performed well to get quick wickets. The bowlers not only took quick wickets at crucial intervals but also were able to contain the Indian batsmen which put them under pressure," said Misbah.
He was all praise for his young pacers Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan and also credited seasoned performers Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul, who as bowling unit performed "exceptionally well".
Special mention, however, was reserved for opening batsman and Man of the Match Nasir Jamshed, who scored a classy 106 and, of course, the Eden Gardens.
"Fantastic crowd, I enjoy playing here, it's something you don't have in any other ground in the world," were Misbah's words about the venue where Pakistan are yet to lose an ODI against India.
Misbah also credited coach Dav Whatmore for Pakistan's recent string of success. Whatmore became Pakistan's coach after the team's 3-0 win over England under Mohsin Khan's guidance. "He (Whatmore) is working hard with the team. He has changed the attitude of the team. He is backing the captains - (Mohammad) Hafeez and me - and also the players. Things are getting better under him," he said. "We always tried to be strong mentally. It was important to rope in a psychologist to get the side out of the mental barrier, especially in a short tour," Misbah said about the appointment of Maqbool Babri as the team's psychologist before the tour to India.
Asked whether Pakistan prefers a foreign coach over a domestic one, he said, "Whoever maybe the coach, he's here to improve our side be it foreigner or domestic. It depends on the players' attitude to work under him."
On the failure of their middle order after an excellent opening stand of 141 runs between Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed, Misbah said: "The conditions were difficult but we could get this score with the way our openers started on these conditions."
"The key is partnerships. We could not get going in the middle. It's difficult to get going in these conditions if you lose wickets, so our middle orders could not capitalise. But the openers batted well and scored with six-plus run over."
He handpicked back-to-back centurion Nasir Jamshed for special praise and termed the elegant left-hander as a bright prospect for Pakistan. "It's happy to see a youngster show maturity. He is trying to bat 50 overs. There is talent no doubt but he is showing amazing temperament which is the key. He has bright future," Misbah said about Jamshed, who scored a magnificent 106 to claim the Man-of-the-Match award.