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De Villiers’ wicket was key, says Imad

BIRMINGHAM: Young and motivated Pakistan spinner Imad Wasim showed delight at getting the key wicket of world’s best ODI batsman AB de Villiers to help his team destroy world number one South Africa in a crucial Group B match in Edgbaston on Wednesday.

De Villiers hit a slightly wide ball from Imad staright to Mohammad Hafeez at point for a golden duck — his first in 212 One-Day Internationals innings. This was De Villiers — regarded as the most destructive batsman in limited overs cricket — first duck since 2013 Champions Trophy.

 

Imad believed De Villiers’s wicket, which left South Africa reeling at 61-3 in the 15th over, spruced up Pakistan.

“Sometimes you get hit, sometimes the other guy gets out. It’s just cricket. You should not be carried away or feel too low by this. He hit a shot and got out, so I think I’m really lucky.

“He is such a big player. I see it from the team’s point of view. You know what he can do if he stays for a long time, so we were just very happy that we got rid of him. It didn’t matter that he got out on zero or one,” Imad told ICC website.

Read More: Pakistan stun South Africa in Champions Trophy

Pakistan reduced South Africa to 118-6 before David Miller (75 not out) lifted them to 219-8 in 50 overs. Pakistan were 119-3 in 27 overs when rain abandoned the match, giving Pakistan a 19-run win over Duckworth-Lewis method

The win gave Pakistan a new life in the tournament after they lost in a tame manner to India by 124 runs in their first game on Sunday.

Imad reiterated the notion that Pakistan can do anything on their day.

“I’ve said this before also, we can do anything on any day,” said Wasim.

“All we need to change is to put up this sort of performance every time. Whether we win or lose is separate. If we had played with such intensity against India, we could have won or lost, but you can see the difference. The way the boys bowled and fielded, it was fantastic to see our lads play like that. We are a different unit if we play with this intensity, if we don’t relax or don’t become lazy.”

While acknowledging that Pakistan could be an up-and-down team, Wasim said the flatness seen against India would not be repeated when it faces up to Sri Lanka for its final league match, where victory could potentially put it through to the semi-final.

“There is no chance of that,” he said. “When you win, the morale that is there is different. If we think too much about having beaten South Africa we might be flat again, but we are aware that it’s a do or die match for us. We’ll treat it like a knockout match and not worry about the result. Hopefully, Pakistan and the world will get to see a great performance.”

Imad will be more pumped up in the next match because the venue is his birthplace, 28 years ago.

“Yes the next match is in Cardiff, so there is that. Last year when I played against England, the crowd was supporting me a lot. I’m very thankful to them and to the Pakistan fans who give me so much love.

Today it felt like we were playing in a home ground. It was fantastic, it is great fun when our crowd turns up like this.”

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