Dubai: It’s not everyday that rain forces a match to be abandoned in the UAE.
However on Sunday, only for the second time in 34 years and 458 international matches in the UAE, the deciding One-day International between Pakistan and New Zealand had to be called off at the Dubai International Stadium.
Pakistan had posted a total of 279 for two, a total which would have been potentially difficult for New Zealand to chase.
Pakistan had bounced back after losing the first ODI to equal the series 1-1 by winning the second match in Abu Dhabi.
It was a good series overall, as we made a good comeback after losing the first ODI. If it hadn’t rained, the game was in our hands today.
Expressing his disappointment at the match been called off, captain Sarfraz Ahmad said: “It was a good score. We were in a good position to win the series. It was very disappointing.”
Tom Latham, who filled in placed of injured captain Kane Williamson, said they were happy that his team did well after Pakistan had recorded a clean 3-0 sweep over them in the T20 series. “It was an exciting series, unfortunately, it finished off in a washout. That’s cricket, I guess. It was a challenge coming to the UAE and playing in these conditions,” said Latham.
Sarfraz too admitted it was a well fought series. “It was a good series overall, as we made a good comeback after losing the first ODI. If it hadn’t rained, the game was in our hands today.”
Sarfraz’s views had a lot to do with the manner their top order batsmen excelled in the final match. “(Babar) Azam is playing well. Fakhar (Zaman) is consistent and Harris Sohail played very well and produced great shots.” He then went on went on to hail 18-year-old Shaheen Afridi, who won the Man of the Series award. “Shaheen (Afridi) is improving with every passing game and he’ll prove to be a good option against South Africa. He needs to work more on his bowling if he has to perform well against South Africa.”
Young Afridi said after receiving the Man of the Series award: “I have played three-match series for the first time in my career. I am very happy with this award. I am learning something new with every passing day and I am trying to stick to my basics. For me being able to land the new ball in right areas was very important for me. I’ll try to repeat my performance in the Test matches as well.”
New Zealand were also happy that Lockie Ferguson bowled brilliantly throughout and also won the Man of the Match award in the final. “I tried many things differently and that is how I got wickets on such strips. Pace is my strength as I can’t swing the ball much. It’s like horses for courses, I changed the plan every time. It’s exciting when you pick up wickets. I am working on my game and trying to be better and it feels good to be a successful fast bowler.”
The three-Test series between Pakistan and New Zealand will now commence from November 16 at the Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium.