Chennai: Pakistan might have notched up a comfortable six-wicket win over India in the first one-dayer but skipper Misbah-ul-Haq said his team was "lucky" today and they need to "work harder and improve a fair bit" to tame the hosts in the second match on Thursday.
"Today we were lucky, India gave us a tough time in this situation. They lost five wickets early but still went on to make 227 and we couldn`t chase it down easily. So I think we have to improve a lot of things. To win the next match, we will have to work hard and improve a fair bit," Misbah said in the post-match press conference.
"We have to really improve our fielding, our death over and Power Play bowling. After these ODI rules specially, we have to improve the bowling in the last 10 overs and Power Play.
"When two batsmen are set, it is difficult to bowl to them like it was to Dhoni. So we will have to come up with plans with four fielders, how to block the batsmen. Also we have to improve our batting performances," he added.
Pakistan today chased down India`s 227-run target, losing four wickets and with 11 balls to spare at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here and Misbah said it would be a confidence booster for his side.
"It was really good to win the match because first game is always important and it`s a three-match series. So whenever you win the first game, it really boosts your confidence and you are ahead of the other team," he said.
Nasir Jamshed was one of the engineers of the victory as he cracked an unbeaten 101 but he lost the man of the match award to India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who scored an unfinished 113 under difficult conditions.
Asked about the man of the match award, Misbah said: "Man of the match is decided by the jury. At one stage, it looked as if India would be getting out for 125 but Dhoni`s was a brilliant innings."
"Nasir and Younis also batted excellently for us but I will also make a special mention of Azhar. In the first six overs from (Bhuvneshwar) Kumar, the ball was swinging a lot. Seeing off the first 10-12 overs was the base for our victory and after that, Younis showed his experience," Misbah said.
"At that time, we were in a spot. The partnership and upping the run-rate by Jamshed and Malik was the turning point of the game," he added.
Junaid Khan was another important contributer for Pakistan as he scalped four top-order wickets early on to put pressure on India and his captain Misbah said he expected the young pacer to deliver.
"We were expecting him to bowl well because Junaid has bowled these kind of spells before. The conditions helped, there was moisture in the pitch and he is a seam bowler and he met the expectations and bowled the kind of spell we had been hoping for," Misbah said.
Asked about India`s performance, Misbah said: "You never find these kind of conditions in an ODI, so you can`t say much about overall performance but they fought well from the situation from where they were five, six down.
"Innings of Dhoni was outstanding, they bowled well and tried to defend it. So it was overall a good performance by them and good cricket played by both teams."
Misbah also backed Ajmal, who has been lacklustre so far, saying the spinner always delivers when it matters.
"I think there is no issue. There has been a bit of a gap, so maybe it is a factor but he is a match-winner. At any time, in this situation if he doesn`t perform, it`s okay but he always performs in difficult situations. That is more important for us," he said.
The skipper also praised promising left-handed opener Jamshed for his outstanding innings but said he needs to work harder.
"No doubt Nasir is very talented, he has worked on his fitness. As far as batting is concerned, he is a good talent the way he is performing. But he needs to work hard," Misbah said.
Today`s one-dayer was also the first match after the new ODI rules came into place on November 1.
According to the new rules, one new ball will be used at each end, bowlers will be allowed two bouncers an over, there will be no bowling Power Play, the batting Power Play will have to be completed before the 40th over, and at no stage in the innings will more than four fielders be allowed outside the 30-yard circle.
Asked about his feedback, Mishbah said: "It is difficult for the bowlers, especially at the end in the last 10 overs, it is almost semi Power Play. Spinners bowling and then bringing in the non-regulars is difficult. To adjust to the rules, it will take time for teams, captains and even bowlers.
"Spinners can still control but it is very difficult for the faster bowlers, especially at the end without third man and fine leg. Nowadays batsmen play lap sweep and different strokes, it is really difficult for bowlers to control batsmen. Spinner can still bowl on one side of the wicket with three or four on the boundary, good spinners can utilise these conditions," he added.
Misbah also praised the Indian bowlers for putting pressure on the Pakistani batsmen till the end.
"I think they were bowling well and these sort of situations when you try to finish it early, it is really difficult. The pitch wasn`t as easy as it looked and they were bowling well. At the end, Nasir Jamshed and Shoaib Malik batted really well to finish the game. It wasn`t easy at the end," he said.