Smith, Waqar praise exciting one-day cricket
Dubai: South African skipper Graeme Smith and Pakistan team coach Waqar Younis both described the fourth one-day match between their two teams as having been exciting and good for 50-over form of cricket.
Pakistan pulled off a sensational one-wicket win on the penultimate delivery of the match after being set a challenging 275-run target on Friday, to level the five-match series at 2-2 and set an intriguing fifth match for Monday.
Smith, whose 98 was the cornerstone for the South African total, termed the series as having been ultra competitive.
“The four teams that are playing one day cricket at the moment are doing a good job keeping people on the edge of their seats,” said Smith of the Pakistan-South Africa and Australia-Sri Lanka series.
South Africa won the first match by eight wickets in Abu Dhabi before the next three games went to the last over.
Riding on a belligerent 72-ball, 109 not out by Abdul Razzaq, Pakistan clinched the second match - also in Abu Dhabi - by one wicket. South Africa survived a last over scare to win the third match in Dubai by two runs.
Smith said close matches are good for one-day cricket.
“Games like these are good things. Cricket is competitive no matter what the format is but it is exciting and good for the game,” said Smith, who missed the second and third match after suffering a hand injury.
Smith said his team had a good chance of winning after taking the wickets of Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq, but failed.
“The wickets of Afridi and Razzaq led us back in the game and we managed to create a lit bit of pressure from then on. We had a chance to win but we did not take it and that was disappointing,” said Smith.
Afridi’s robust 25-ball 29 and Razzaq’s 33 brought Pakistan within 31 runs of the win before tail-enders Zulqarnain Haider (19 not out) and Wahab Riaz (18) put on a match-winning 28-run stand for the ninth wicket.
Waqar described it as “a hell of a game” and “good for the health of one-day cricket.”
“A win is always a boost to the team and now we will try our best to win the series in the last game,” added Waqar.