PORT ELIZABETH: South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has said that his side will learn from their defeat to Pakistan in the first One-day International at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas were given a timely reminder of how much work lies ahead before the Cricket World Cup in May as they lost by five wickets on Saturday.
Hashim Amla’s 27th ODI century and debutant Rassie van der Dussen’s 93 was not enough for the Proteas, who lost only two wickets in scoring 266 runs after winning the toss.
The experienced Mohammad Hafeez’s 71 and opener Imam-ul-Haq’s 86 steered the tourists to their first win of their away series after they were well-beaten in all three Test matches.
Du Plessis felt that his team were short of where they should have been.
“The two guys [Amla and van der Dussen] batted really well, but perhaps there were 10 or 15 runs that we could have pushed a little harder for,” he said after the opening fixture of the five-match series. “Pakistan bowled better than us over fifty overs here. And then they batted really well [too], you have to give credit where it’s due. Some great learnings for us, and we know where we can get better,” said the South African captain.
“An in-form Hashim Amla is great for us. Rassie played beautifully, he had intent right through his innings. We need to adapt. You’re not going to always get conditions for the fast bowlers,” du Plessis added.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed also credited his batsmen for their first win of the tour. “The batting was very responsible,” a relieved Sarfraz said. “In the middle overs, Shadab [Khan] was great, as well as Imad [Wasim]. And the way our fast bowlers bowled was very good. And then the way Imam and Hafeez controlled the match in the run chase was simply outstanding.”
Man-of-the-match Hafeez remarked the South Africa total was below par. “It’s a team effort,” the veteran right-hander said. “It was not a par score on this track, so we were confident chasing it. To be very honest, we were very sure as a team we should chase this one. The start given by Fakhar [Zaman] and Imam was brilliant, Babar [Azam] gave us momentum.”
With this win, Pakistan maintained their unbeaten record at St George’s Park. They have now won three out of the four matches they have played at the venue, with one match ending without result.The second game, also a day/nighter, takes place at Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2019