Shehzad lauds managerial support

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Man of the Match Ahmed Shehzad appreciated the positive influence of Pakistan's leadership and management staff, after Wedneday's one-run win – and unassailable two-nil series lead – over South Africa in the second ODI at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.

Man of the Match Ahmed Shehzad appreciated the positive influence of Pakistan's leadership and management staff, after Wedneday's one-run win – and unassailable two-nil series lead – over South Africa in the second ODI at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.

Inclement weather reduced the fixture to 45 overs per side, with the visitors posting a formidable total of 262 all out on the back of Shehzad's century, which spanned 112 deliveries, eight boundaries and twin sixes.

The Proteas later slipped to an insufficient 261 for six, as a commanding 98 from opener Hashim Amla and a cavalier 74 from captain AB de Villiers went in vain. Seamer Junaid Khan and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, meanwhile, shared five key wickets.

"My captain has really supported me throughout. We haven't been clicking much the last few series. The way the management is treating us, and the way manager Moin Khan has been handling us, it has gone a long way in helping our belief after we lost series in the UAE," said Shehzad.

"Those guys are doing a tremendous job off the field and have supported us. It's very pleasing for any opening batsman to make a ton in South Africa. Sometimes it's really quick, sometimes it is two-paced, so it is especially pleasing to do well in these conditions."

Shehzad's solid alliance with fellow right-hander Sohaib Maqsood, who scored a patient 42 before perishing to all-rounder Ryan McLaren, was crucial. The pair added 124 runs inside 22 overs for the third wicket, ensuring a prompt recovery in the wake of opener Nasir Jamshed and the out-of-form Mohammad Hafeez's early departures.

"The pitch wasn't easy to bat on. Ball wasn't coming on to the bat. First few overs ball wasn't coming, but as soon as the lights came on it got easier. I want to mention the spinners. Shahid has been bowling tremendously, along with Saeed Ajmal, while Junaid took the responsibility at the end to bowl well," he added.

"Maqsood is a free stroke player and we need his kind of talent in the pressure overs and Powerplay. I told him to take his chances but he couldn't connect. It happens in this game."

The third and final ODI will get underway in Centurion on Saturday, after which the Proteas will prepare for India's arrival and the Pakistanis will tour Sri Lanka.

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