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Victory against India is gift for the nation: Hafeez

December 25, 2012

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KARACHI: Pakistan Twenty20 captain, Mohammad Hafeez, praised his side’s effort in the first T20 match against India which Pakistan won in a dramatic finish by five wickets in Bangalore, adding that the win was a gift for the whole nation.

"It is a great effort, we wanted to do well at the start of the series. Irfan was the surprise package for us and everybody. We knew that we had a good attack. They restricted India where we wanted them to,” Hafeez, also the man-of-the-match for his 61 runs off 44 balls, said.

The historic match coincided with Christmas and the birthday of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

“Once the spinners came on after the new ball, we knew we had a chance, we took a risk at the right time. It is a gift for the whole nation, it is Quaid day back home," he added.

Shoaib Malik, who hit the winning runs, said the pressure of playing against India was there but the team managed to handle it despite the initial jitters.

"We were struggling when the debutant bowler, I don't remember his name, took those early wickets, Hafeez played a brilliant innings. You are playing against India, pressure is always there, but you have to play according to the situation,” Malik said.

India captain MS Dhoni, meanwhile, rued his side’s shortage of runs, saying the hosts were about 15 runs short of what would have been a good target.

"If we would have got more runs. We got a good start, fantastic effort by the openers, we kept losing wickets after that, 10 or 15 more runs we should have got easily. 145 would have been a safe score,” Dhoni said.

He added that India had taken a gamble to have a fast bowler for the last over as Pakistan were scoring at a high pace.

“You have to pitch it up, not bowl short. That gamble was done three or four overs before that. At that time, Pakistan were scoring at a high pace, we had to take that gamble," he said.

The two sides are playing the first bilateral series after five years. Relations between the two countries have been tense since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which also lead to a suspension of cricket ties.

The second T20 takes place in Ahmedabad on Friday.