Pakistan hail historic win

Pakistan cricket fans (AFP)
Pakistan cricket fans (AFP)

Karachi - Pakistan cricket commentators have on Thursday hailed the national team's first-ever one-day series win over South Africa, describing it as one of the country's greatest moments.

The Pakistani team edged out the Proteas by one run in the second one-day international at Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

"It's a big achievement," former captain Zaheer Abbas said.

"It has given a lot of happiness to the players, cricket community and fans around the country."

Pakistan rode on a brilliant 102 by opener Ahmed Shehzad to pile a challenging 262 all out in a match reduced to 45 overs due to rain.

South Africa were cruising along nicely in the chase with Hashim Amla (98) and skipper AB de Villiers (74) but once both departed South Africa failed to score 11 off the last two overs.

Paceman Junaid Khan took 3-42 and successfully defended nine off the last over.

Abbas said the win was necessary after Pakistan's 4-1 loss in the one-day series against the same opponents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) barely a fortnight ago.

"It was very much needed because when you perform badly, you ought to stage a comeback and we are proud of this team for doing so well after a big defeat," said Abbas, also a former chief selector.

Another former captain Rashid Latif said the win will silence skipper Misbah-ul Haq's critics.

"It's a big win for the team and for Misbah," Latif said.

"After the UAE defeat it seemed his career will soon be over but this win will help him a lot."

He also commended the younger members of the team.

"We needed good all-rounders and found Anwar Ali and Bilwal Bhatti who will give us much needed confidence in both batting and bowling," said Latif.

Ali scored 43 not out and took two wickets while Bhatti made 39 and grabbed three wickets - both on debut - in the first match in Cape Town which Pakistan won by 23 runs.

Former coach and batsman Haroon Rasheed agreed the win will help Misbah.

"This win will lift the team's confidence as well as taking pressure off Misbah who was unduly criticised by some people," said Rasheed.

Discarded wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal said the win will help Pakistan in their next series against Sri Lanka in the UAE, starting early next month.

"It was a very much needed win and the first-ever against South Africa and I am sure it will help the team in the series against Sri Lanka," said Akmal.

Pakistan will play two Twenty20, five one-day and three Tests against Sri Lanka in the UAE.

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