The visitors beat a weakened South Africa by 28 runs in the third ODI in Centurion to clinch the three-match series 2-1. The Proteas were missing a number of key players who headed to India for the IPL.
Azam led from the front, blasting 94 off 82, as Pakistan posted 320 after batting first in the decider. Fakhar Zaman (101) also registered his second hundred in a row.
"Though he doesn't have much experience as captain, this performance will allow him to get better. The way he has worked on his game in white-ball cricket or even Tests shows he is a good learner. He has cricketing sense and with more experience as captain, he will definitely improve his strategic moves."
Misbah-ul-Haq also lauded Azam for the way he took on Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje in the first ODI, which sent the tone for the series. Misbah-ul-Haq elaborated:
"For a captain, it's really important to lead from the front. He just goes in and controls the game. In the first ODI, South Africa did their best to attack him with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, but the way he counter-attacked gave self-belief and confidence (to him as a captain). All that will help him in decision-making and improve his overall ability.”
Our middle and lower-middle order needs to get consistent runs: Misbah-ul-Haq
With the ODI series in the bag, Pakistan will now meet South Africa in the T20I series. The first match will be played at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the T20I series, Misbah-ul-Haq opined that Pakistan's middle and lower-middle order needs to capitalise on the starts provided by the top order. Misbah-ul-Haq said in this regard:
"Things we see going forward is that in our middle and lower-middle order, we need consistent runs, as well as power, so that you can score big runs. These days, 325 isn't a safe total, and we have seen that in the last two games when 320 felt less. So 330 and 350 are just normal, (so) it's necessary to have big-hitting ability in your middle and lower order. The way the top order is setting the innings up, that needs to be capitalised on for a big finish. There is a simple and clear method in white-ball cricket, to put on 200 runs in T20s and 350 in ODIs, and that's the demands of the time.”
Pakistan will play four T20Is in South Africa before they head off to Zimbabwe to embark on the second leg of their African tour.