Chasing 274, Pakistan were cruising at 186 for 1 in the 32nd over, with Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam involved in a 177-run stand for the second wicket. However, Pakistan soon slipped to 203 for 5 before eventually winning by three wickets off the final ball.
Former cricketer Ramiz Raja, on commentary, saw the humorous side of Pakistan's all-too-familiar implosion, joking that the team is famous for this entertaining attribute. Even Imam-ul-Haq saw the funny side of things and joked after the match:
“You know there’s this pandemic bringing everyone down these days, and so we thought we’d entertain people a little.”
On a serious note, Imam-ul-Haq admitted that Pakistan need to learn from their familiar mistakes if they wish to win big tournaments, saying:
“On a serious note, if you want to win big tournaments and become a top-three team... it’s not as if we don’t talk about this in our meetings, it gets discussed that if your top three gets set in white-ball, then in other teams, they don’t just make 100, they get 150. That is what we’re trying to do, like Babar (Azam]) and I were set today, we should have finished the game. We were playing an ODI after a long time. We want to learn from our mistakes and turn these 70s and 80s into match-winning knocks and turn a win like this into a seven or six-wicket win.”
Disappointed not to finish the game: Imam-ul-Haq
While Imam-ul-Haq was out for 70, Babar Azam went on to register his 13th ODI hundred. Incidentally, Imam-ul-Haq hasn’t scored a hundred since the 2019 World Cup despite having several opportunities to do so.
Expressing his disappointment at not finishing the game, Imam-ul-Haq said that he would look to make amends in the rest of the series.
“To be honest, I’m very disappointed (in not finishing the game). I’ve been waiting one and a half years since my last hundred. I haven’t had that many opportunities in the last year. You don’t always get what you want, but I’ve got two more games to make up for it,” Imam-ul-Haq added.
The second ODI between the two sides will be played at the same venue in Centurion on Sunday.