Hafeez hails bowlers for 'special' win | cricket.com.au

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Hafeez hails bowlers for 'special' win

Pakistan's captain wasn't even in the visitors' original ODI squad but helped orchestrate a famous victory at the MCG

Stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez has labelled Pakistan's drought-breaking victory against Australia at the MCG a "special, special blessing" and has praised his bowlers for setting up the upset win.

Pakistan's shock six-wicket victory in the second VB ODI was their first against Australia in Australia since 2005, ending a streak of 16 matches across all formats without a win.

It's been 4,368 days since Pakistan won at the WACA Ground on January 30, 2005, in a match where Inzamam-ul-Haq was their captain, batsman Mohammad Yousuf was known as Yousuf Youhana and Brad Hogg was a 33-year-old veteran of the Australian side.

It's also their first victory against Australia at the MCG in 32 years, with 36-year-old Hafeez and 34-year-old Shoaib Malik – their two batting heroes in the win tonight – the only current players who were born when Javed Miandad led his side to a 62-run win, a match that featured a haul of 5-21 to a young Wasim Akram.

Hafeez guides Pakistan to cusp of victory

With that 14-match losing streak also consigned to the history books, Hafeez was a happy man when he faced the media after the match.

"It's a special, special blessing," the veteran said. "Everyone took the responsibility to do this job for Pakistan.

"In the last game we had our moments, but we couldn't continue that pressure and that (chance) went away.

Stumps at the MCG: Pakistan back in business

"We had a good meeting together as a team and we realised the importance of taking responsibility at the right time and I think everyone responded very well.

"It's something very special. These stats just got changed, the history got changed. So we're more happy as a team now.

"Our bowlers really did the job for us.

Hafeez celebrates drought-breaking victory

"Everyone responded really well and we kept that pressure on and that really worked."

Nothing quite sums up the wonderful unpredictability of Pakistan cricket quite like the fortunes of Hafeez in the past two weeks.

The veteran played just four of Pakistan's 11 ODIs last year and wasn't even named in the initial squad for this series, but was added to the touring party a week ago after a request from coach Mickey Arthur and captain Azhar Ali, who was ruled out of today's match with a hamstring injury.

Not only did Hafeez regain his spot in the side, he was named captain for today's game (for the first time in one-day cricket) and led the way with a top score of 72 as his side overcame a late wobble to cruise to their victory target of 221.

Malik delivers victory with solid knock

Despite being overlooked for the initial squad, the 36-year-old never considered that his days as an international player might be over.

"It was never negative in my mind," he said. "I knew I could be back into the team at any stage.

"My performances weren't good at domestic level but the management here and the selectors back home trusted my ability and asked me to come here, do a job and add value to the team.

"It's unfortunate that our captain is not here. He's the man who has been running the team for the past year and a half.

"I got the opportunity, I think it worked for Pakistan and we are very happy to do this job for Pakistan and level the series."