Twin debutants upstage Proteas in Cape Town

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Captain Misbah-ul-Haq expressed great pride in the outstanding performances of debutants Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti, who carried Pakistan to a 23-run victory over South Africa in Sunday's first ODI at Newlands in Cape Town.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq expressed great pride in the outstanding performances of debutants Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti, who carried Pakistan to a 23-run victory over South Africa in Sunday's first ODI at Newlands in Cape Town.

Ali and Bhatti scored a quickfire 43 not out and inventive 39 respectively in a final total of 218 for nine, and later shared five key wickets as the hosts slipped to an insufficient 195 all out in 48.1 overs.

"Nobody can imagine how happy I am. I am really happy with the performance of the two debutants. They won the game for us. I think the plan was to negotiate the new ball and then accelerate later," said Misbah.

"We just kept losing wickets at the wrong time. We were short by 25 to 30 runs. The bowlers bowled really well. They were on the money and got the wickets at the right time. Bhatti was really bowling well for the last two years. He had the pace but he was not consistent with lines and lengths, but he has done that this year."

Ali was named Man of the Match on the back of a rearguard vigil that featured six boundaries. The right-arm seamer later clinched the key wickets of the veteran Jacques Kallis, who marked a promising return to the XI with a sound half-century, and the dangerous David Miller.

"I was enjoying my batting. I wanted to play my natural game. It all worked. We wanted to play the full 50 overs. We were in good form in domestic cricket as well. We wanted to get close to 215 to 220 as well," added Ali.

"We wanted to take it ball by ball. I was nervous when I got to know that I was playing the game. I was relaxed completely when I went to the wicket."

The second ODI will get underway at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday. Centurion will host the third and final fixture on Saturday.

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