Going into the fifth and final ODI at Cardiff, Pakistan went in with just one ambition – avoid a whitewash in all possible ways. A loss in the fifth ODI would have been catastrophic for the Pakistanis, as an ODI series whitewash is often considered a derelict situation to be in. Post the game, though; the faces in the Pakistani camp were lit with smiles, as a fine batting display from the middle order saw them get home in a decent run chase.
Skipper Azhar Ali, who was constantly questioned throughout the series for his leadership, admitted that the victory was a much-needed respite. Ali appreciated his side for their efforts, and in particular, lauded wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed for his efforts. Sarfaraz amassed 300 runs in the series, an all-time record for a Pakistani wicketkeeper.
“A few guys we have seen on this tour have really stepped up, they are young guys and if they can play good consistent cricket we are looking at a bright future,” Azhar said. “These are very good signs and especially the way Sarfraz batted, this whole tour he’s been exceptional. He’s been positive and scoring good runs at No. 5, so we’ve got some good performances but we just need to bind it together and start playing consistent cricket.”
Ali mentioned that post the test series, the first four ODI’s saw the team being hammered. Thereby a victory in the final ODI was a much-needed respite. “It’s a very happy camp right now because it has been a very tough tour for us in ODIs, getting a victory at the end and finishing on a high is really good, especially chasing 300 is really satisfying,” Azhar said. “The series was gone but credit should be given to the boys for the way they played today’s game.
“It’s a very good feeling right now. The way Sarfraz and Shoaib (Malik) batted, we lost two wickets in one over and that could have been a turning point of the game but the way they built up the partnership was brilliant. “Series was gone, losing 4-1 is not a result you want, but the way things were as a team we wanted to finish on a good note and that’s what we achieved. There are a lot of things need to be improved, as a team, we have to gel together and keep working on it,” Ali concluded.