South Africa's new white-ball skipper Temba Bavuma acknowledged that Pakistan pushed them to their limits in the first ODI at the Centurion SuperSport Park. The visitors emerged victorious by three wickets in a closely contested affair.
Chasing 274 to win, Pakistan - riding on Babar Azam (103) and Imam-ul-Haq's (70) 177-run partnership - went on to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. Speaking during the post-match presentation, Temba Bavuma said:
"Not the result we were looking for, but a good game of cricket. We were tested in all departments and tested to our limits. A good start to the series, but we have areas to improve in. I think the batting didn't help, especially in the first 10 overs. The David-Rassie partnership helped, but it was too much to expect of them. The Imam-Babar stand took it away from us, and we were always on the back foot from then."
Andile Phehlukwayo and Kagiso Rabada made some useful contributions lower down the order to set a competitive target for their opponents.
However, Pakistan had just about enough firepower to see themselves home, completing the chase on the final ball of the 50th over.
"We need to look at areas that we need to improve on"- Temba Bavuma
Speaking about whether Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock went too hard at the top, Temba Bavuma said his team's two openers are naturally aggressive, and hence, they couldn't be faulted for their approach.
The skipper added that the Proteas would need to up their game if they want to mount a comeback in the next two matches.
"The guys are naturally aggressive, Aiden and Quinny upfront, and our options didn't come off, and they looked like soft dismissals, mine included. The options we take, we need to execute them much better than we did today. I think we need to look at areas that we need to improve on, and we need to take the positives into the next game. We need to win the next two to win the series, and there's no hiding behind that." Temba Bavuma said.
This was Pakistan's 13th win on South African soil against the Proteas in ODI cricket. The two teams will resume their rivalries again on April 4 in the second ODI.