South Africa series win helped Pakistan, says Hafeez

Return to form batsman Mohammad Hafeez said Pakistan’s first-ever win in South Africa raised the confidence of the team which helped them beat Sri Lanka in the ongoing five-match series.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 27 Dec 2013, 12:58 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

Pakistan registered a thumping eight-wicket win in the fourth match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to take an unbeatable lead with the fifth match here on Friday left inconsequential.

The victory gave Pakistan their seventh one-day series win in the calendar year, beating the previous best of six achieved in 2011.

Hafeez said Pakistan carry forward the confidence of their 2-1 one-day series win in South Africa last month.

“The confidence we got from our South Africa win helped us in this series,” said Hafeez after Wednesday’s match. “It was a big motivation to win in South Africa for the first time and we carried that momntum here.” Hafeez scored another match-winning 113 not out in Pakistan’s successful chase of 226-run target, his third hundred in the series.

He became the sixth batsmen in all one-day cricket to score three hundreds in one bilateral series and the first Pakistani to do so behind legendary Zaheer Abbas who achieved the honour in 1982.

“It’s a great honour to be named alongside Abbas,” said Hafeez, who also crossed 4,000 one-day runs on Wednesday.

Hafeez admitted he was under pressure before the series, having scored only 147 in his last eight matches. “There is no doubt that I was under pressure and there were suggestions that I bat lower down the order, but my captain and the team staff gave me the needed confidence and it helped me a lot,” said Hafeez.

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews conceded his team was disappointing.

“I would say that overall we could have done better,” said Mathews, whose team beat New Zealand and South Africa at home this year. “We had couple of see-saw games early on but the last few games we were well short of our standard.”

Mathews praised Pakistan team. “We knew that its going to be a tough series for us as Pakistan has a good bowling attack,” said Mathews. “We will have to play for our pride in the last game, win it and end the series on a good note.” Pakistan’s dashing allrounder Shahid Afridi will not be available for the fifth match after he returned home to attend to his ill daughter.

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