A beaming Mohammad Hafeez said that despite Pakistan’s opening game loss to West Indies, the side did not lose hope and that showed as they got past favourites England by 14 runs in Nottingham.
Hafeez was the architect of the win with both bat and ball. He first top-scored with a classy 84 as Pakistan amassed 348/8 and then returned the crucial wicket of Eoin Morgan. He was deservingly named Player of the Match for his efforts.
“Everyone believed that we can do this, we can win the games. We were playing very good cricket but we were not winning the crucial stages of the game. The performance today, everyone chipped in, everyone did their bit and gave everything that was required," said Hafeez at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Hafeez was a positive with the bat right from the outset. He got his innings started with a delightful four first ball against Moeen Ali and did not look back from there.
“I was just trying to play my natural shots and just apply myself. Luckily it worked for me," he said talking about his knock. “The first ball that I hit, I thought why don’t I put pressure on straight away. Sometimes you have to take the calculated risks and it paid off."
After being bundled out for a meagre 105 in their first game against the West Indies, many had expected Pakistan to be blown away by the hosts. But they came out with courage and gusto and living up to their unpredictable nature forged an all-round show.
Hafeez insisted that despite Pakistan’s opening game loss they were a confident unit and knew one good performance would get them back to winning ways.
“To be honest, we were very confident. We had a good practice session yesterday and we had a good meeting today," Hafeez said. “We needed one good performance and we knew everyone will contribute accordingly.
“The bowlers did a great job, the batters did a great job to put up a good total. It was a total team effort, I believe. Our first game did not go according to plan but we all know the capability we have and we built on that.
“This win will boost our confidence. We were confident but were not winning games but this win will change the feeling in the dressing room."
Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, called the win a complete team effort. Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq got the side off to a decent start giving the rest of the batsmen a good platform. The bowlers then followed up pretty well keeping the ball in good areas.
“I think it’s a great team effort. Fakhar and Imam started well. The match starts at 10.30am and the first ten overs is important. They got a good start and that’s why we got 350," Sarfraz said.
“We tried a few different things - we started with Shadab because they weren’t good against spinners. Fielding is an important part and it was the main difference. This gives a lot of confidence to the team."
Eoin Morgan admitted that fielding was the difference between the two sides. England were ragged on the field missing relatively simple chances and Morgan said the extra 15-20 runs conceded turned out to be the biggest reason behind England’s defeat.
“We were outfielded today and that was probably the difference between the two sides. It was way below par and probably cost us 15-20 runs," Morgan admitted. “They bowled well, they deserve to win. The difference was the fielding I’d say. I don’t think it’s a blip and some positives to take to Cardiff against Bangladesh.
“We thought the target was under our grasp, Joe and Jos kept us in the game until the early 40th over. Great advertisement for the tournament, but disappointed to be at the wrong end of the tight finish."