Pakistan stand-in captain says youngsters learned a lot from South Africa tour
Pakistan stand-in captain Shoaib Malik was a happy man when his charges beat South Africa in the third and final T20I to avoid a whitewash and retain the number one in the ICC rankings.
Pakistan batted first and looked set to score a 200 plus total but quick wickets hindered their progress as they set a 169-run target for the hosts.
In their chase, South Africa were found looking for a partnership and lost the game by 27 runs in a series which they had already won courtesy victories in the first two matches.
The match helped Pakistan end the series on a high note, but there will be a lot to look back to since they lost all three, Tests, ODI and T20I, series on the tour.
"A win is something that always gives you satisfaction," said Malik at the post-match presentation ceremony. "When you enter the dressing room there are some smiling faces.”
He was quick to refer to the experience and lessons the young team will take from the tour. “Youngsters have learned a lot from this tour, but in those crunch positions we broke and that's where we need to improve,” he explained.
Pakistan lost the first two T20Is by close margins even after trying to chase big targets, a skill they lack, but Malik believes those games could have gone in anyone’s favour.
“If we look at all three games, we could have won in the first two but these things happen in cricket. The thing is how you come back from it, and if you get the same thing in future, how you handle crunch situations,” said Malik.
The 37-year-old was also all-praise for teenage pace prodigy Shaheen Afridi.
“Afridi is a remarkable find from Pakistan. He's got talent and he's improving day by day. Having him in our team is a great sign.”
He also praised the role played by other pacers in the game. “Pace bowlers keep coming and winning games for us, and we want batsmen to do the same.”
Babar Azam, the highest run-scorer in the T20Is series wasn’t left out by Malik, as the skipper said that other batsmen need to learn from the 23-year-old the art of performing consistently. “Babar has performed consistently, and we need more batsmen to perform consistently abroad. It's not just about getting chances, but about developing your game.”
South Africa’s stand-in captain David Miller, meanwhile, was a happy man even after losing the last match of the tour.
"We came out and showed our class in all three formats. Tonight was a disappointing result, but really chuffed with a series win,” he said.