Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi once again singled out his bowlers after their thrilling two-wicket win over New Zealand in the fourth one-day international in Napier.
Pakistan, losing the toss and fielding first, sliced through the top half of the Kiwi batting lineup inside 25 overs to set the tone for the match, with left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz grabbing figures of three for 51.
Riding on the back James Franklin’s 62, the home side managed to put up a target of 263 for the win. And they almost came good before middle-order heroics from Pakistan vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who smashed an unbeaten 93 off 91 deliveries, ensured a tight win. More importantly, the visitors earned a 2-1 lead in the six-match series with two left to play.
Afridi, who returned figures of 1-42 from his 10 overs, said: “I think the way the boys bowled with the new ball, especially on this track which is like heaven for batsmen, it was really well and full credit goes to them.”
On paceman Riaz, Afridi said: “He’s doing really well, working really hard.
“Mentally he is a very strong lad. He’s been doing a great job for us not only in one-day internationals but Tests and Twenty20s as well.”
Afridi also hailed Misbah’s decisive knock, which eventually pushed Pakistan across the line.
His innings began in a circumspect manner alongside Younis Khan (42) abut increased in tempo even as wickets fell around him in the final overs.
Misbah combine with tail-ender Sohail Tanvir to finish as the latter stroked three boundaries in the penultimate over.
Afridi said: “265 is not an easy total especially when you are chasing but the way [opener] Ahmed Shehzad  played was very good, very positive cricket.
“And after that Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan took responsibility and played a very good partnership. It was very good and it came at a crucial time for us. And for Misbah, in the end especially, it was a great knock.”