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11-02-2010, 07:24 AM #1
Pakistan on high after win in second ODI
Pakistan's first victory in the series against South Africa has given it a boost ahead of the third one-day international and will help the players overcome off-field distractions, coach Waqar Younis said on Monday. Waqar was especially pleased with the performance of Abdul Razzaq, who scored a stunning unbeaten 109 off 72 balls on Sunday. He said Razzaq probably "felt under pressure" to help the team out of its poor form.
"For the past 12 or 13 years, he has been a great performer for Pakistan cricket," Waqar said of Razzaq. "He made Pakistan proud and helped them win a lot of games. It is just unfortunate that Pakistan wasn't really playing well. He probably felt he was under pressure and played a superb knock."
Pakistan lost both its Twenty20s in Abu Dhabi and was facing defeat at 136-5 in the second ODI before Razzaq lifted it to a one-wicket win that leveled the five-match series.
The victory came on the day the team learned they wouldn't be getting Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir back anytime soon. The trio are suspended by the ICC over charges of spot-fixing and on Sunday the appeals of Butt and Amir against provisional suspensions were rejected by the ICC's code of conduct commission.
Waqar admitted the fixing investigation has been on the minds of his players but that the victory Sunday has at least given them something more positive to think about.
"I think we needed this sort of victory pretty badly," Waqar said. "It will cover a lot of wounds in terms of what happened in the past."
Graeme Smith, South Africa's ODI and Test captain, who did not play on Sunday because of injury, praised Razzaq for "taking the game away from us" in the end.
He refused to criticize his stand-in, Johan Botha, who is also South Africa's Twenty20 captain, for his decision-making, though he was critical of the team's inability to close out the match.
Smith said the loss was a reminder that Pakistan — no matter the troubles it is facing — can always be a dangerous opponent.
"We know Pakistan can be an unpredictable team and we know they can be a very dangerous team.
"They proved that in England. They only lost that (ODI) series 3-2, away from home, during the midst of all the chaos," he said. "They have got dangerous cricketers and we need to be at our best. Abdul Razzaq proved that again last night."