Pakistan’s ODI revival on course, insists captain Azhar Ali

Karachi [Pakistan], Oct.01 : After claiming a crushing 111-run win over West Indies in the opening ODI match, Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has declared that his side are on the path to reviving their fortunes in the 50-overs format.

Pakistan relied on Babar Azam's brisk 120 to set a challenging 287-run target in a match reduced to 49 overs a side due to floodlight failure in Sharjah.

In reply, West Indies struggled against a persistent bowling attack from the hosts as they were bundled out 175 within 38.4 overs.

"Fitness levels are also going up, so we have started to tick the boxes," captain Azhar was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

"It was a wonderful team effort and the last few games have been good for us. We are trying to find the right combination and bat deep, which is very important in one-day cricket," he said while assessing his team's performance.

The ongoing series assumes significance as Pakistan and West Indies are battling out for an automatic progression into the 2019 World Cup.

Hosts England along with the seven highest-ranked sides in the ODI rankings on September 30 next year will qualify directly for the pinnacle event.

Pakistan need to clean sweep the three-match ODI series to rise one place from ninth while West Indies have to avoid the same to maintain their current eighth spot.

The 31-year-old, during the post-match talk, stressed that as long as they continue to iron out their flaws and improve, rankings will take care of themselves.

"We're focusing on improving ourselves, playing good cricket. We know what areas we need to improve on, coaching staff is working on it," he said. "We can win more games if we keep improving and our ranking will also improve." The second match will be played in Sharjah, on Sunday, while the third will be held in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Source: ANI