Imad Wasim was thrilled that his hard work in training paid off as he produced a match-winning performance after sitting on the sidelines for so long.
The 29-year-old all-rounder donned the Pakistan jersey for the first time in more than a year after proving his fitness and some impressive domestic performances.
And he made an instant impact finishing with 3-20 as Australia fell to a 66-run loss in the first T20I after they were bowled out for a paltry 89 in their reply to Pakistan’s 155.
And though man-of-the-match Wasim admitted there was always pressure for him to deliver on his comeback, sticking to his game plan turned out to be the key to success.
“My hard work paid off. It is never easy to make a comeback,” he said. “I got unfit in the PSL and after that I could only play in Caribbean Premier League and I played some domestic matches.
“In this match, I wanted to stick to my basics and wanted to target the stumps. I was lucky today that I got the wickets. All the training that I did has come off and I want to carry this form on.”
One of the wickets that Wasim claimed was that of Australia captain Aaron Finch, who was out for a duck in the third delivery.
Wasim went on to take D’Arcy Short and Alex Carey in the powerplay and Finch admitted those scalps were the turning point for a horror display.
“Yes, definitely,” Finch said of Wasim’s burst. “Three of those wickets came in the powerplay and that was a huge momentum shift. I thought the way we bowled in the end of the innings gave us momentum and we executed really well under pressure. But to go two down in the first over, Wasim definitely got the upper hand in that.”
Having been set a target of 156, Finch fancied his team’s chances of victory at the innings break. But as the opening batsmen and skipper, he felt he let his side down in a ‘car crash’ start.
“We felt it was a chase that was gettable,” he added. “On a pitch like Abu Dhabi, it is important to get a good start and do your basics and put some partnerships. But saying that, the first powerplay was horrific. It was like a car crash in slow motion.