Sharjah, 23 March 2019:
Pakistan’s middle-order batsman Haris Sohail said he would have felt better on scoring his maiden century in the first one-day international against Australia in Sharjah on Friday had his team won the match.
Haris’ 115-ball 101 not out formed the basis of Pakistan’s imposing total of 280 for five, but Aaron Finch’s 116 and Shaun Marsh’s unbeaten 91 overshadowed that feat, helping Australia to an eight-wicket win and a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Asked about his feelings on getting his first ODI hundred, Haris said: “When you score a hundred, it’s a great feeling, but had we won, it would have been a different feeling, more enjoyable.”
The 30-year-old was playing his first match since returning home from the start of the South Africa tour in December last year after injuring his knee.
Haris added 98 runs for the third-wicket with Umar Akmal, who made 48 on his return to the team after two years.
Haris said the total was defendable.
“This total has not been chased frequently at Sharjah. So, we needed wickets, which did not come. These days ODI cricket has changed. No matter how much you score, you need wickets when the other team chases.
“I think credit must be given to Finch and Marsh the way they played, they took the game from us.”
Finch added 172 for the second-wicket with Marsh to take the game away from Pakistan.
Haris admitted loss of wickets in the final overs pushed Pakistan hard, but in the last five overs Imad Wasim and he scored 55 runs.
“We lost a few wickets and its difficult for a new batsman to score freely at the start, but Imad did wonderfully well to cover up,” said Haris of Imad's 13-ball 28 not out with a six and four fours.
“We must give credit to the Australia batsmen, the way they batted and took the game away. You can say the way the Australians batted, it was a good pitch but it was not easy for free flowing strokes.”
Haris termed the Sharjah pitch tough for batting.
“Early on, a batsman struggles as the ball does not come on the bat,” said Haris of the Sharjah Stadium pitch. “Had we got early wickets, it would have helped us to put more pressure on them.
“Overall, our bowlers bowled well but wickets were needed and that would have made a difference. Even if you score 300 plus and don't get wickets, it becomes difficult to defend.”
Haris hoped to carry his batting form in the second match, also in Sharjah on Sunday.
“You score runs in the first match, then its good to carry the momentum. We fought well to take the match to the second last over. We will do more preparation. The morale is high but Australia have come with confidence after winning the series in India.” said Haris of Australia's 3-2 series win in India after being 2-0 down.
After Sunday’s match in Sharjah, the remaining matches will be played in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and Dubai (March 29 and 31).