‘Morale high, but Australia have come with confidence’ – Haris Sohail

Written by Abhishek Patil

Pakistan batsman Haris Sohail said that morale is high in the camp despite the defeat in the first ODI, but admitted that Australia are a changed side after their series win against India.

Sohail cracked his maiden ODI century, but Pakistan were unable to defend 280/5 in the first ODI at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. It was an anomaly, as Pakistan’s score has traditionally been a defendable one in Sharjah, where scores of 280-plus had been chased down only once before.

But Australia captain Aaron Finch broke a run drought with his 12th one-day hundred and forged a 172-run second-wicket stand with Shaun Marsh, as Australia aced the chase, with eight wickets in hand.

“We fought well to take the match to the second-last over. We will do more preparation,” Sohail said ahead of the second ODI on Sunday, 24 March. “The morale is high, but Australia have come with confidence after winning the series in India.”

One of the aspects Pakistan would want to work on after that opening defeat is wicket-taking. Their bowlers just took two wickets in an Australian chase that spanned 49 overs. Finch and Usman Khawaja first shared a 63-run stand for the first wicket, before Marsh joined his captain to put the game beyond Pakistan.

Finch eventually fell in the 43rd over, and even that was down to him going after the bowlers and throwing his hands at everything they sent down. Marsh and Peter Handscomb then finished the job off with an unbroken partnership of 46.

“Overall, our bowlers bowled well, but wickets were needed and that would have made a difference,” Sohail said. “I think credit must be given to Finch and Marsh [for] the way they played, they took the game [away] from us.”

As for Sohail, who made an excellent 101* off 115 balls to guide Pakistan to a competitive total, he said he enjoyed the experience of bringing up his maiden ton, although the defeat ended up raining on his parade.

“When you score a hundred, it’s a great feeling,” he said. “But had we won, it would have been a different feeling, more enjoyable.”

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Abhishek Patil