Strauss heaps praise on Davies
Skipper Andrew Strauss hailed the “outstanding” contribution of man of the match Steven Davies to England’s victory over Pakistan in the opening match of the NatWest Series.
Davies’ 87 was the cornerstone of the hosts’ 24-run win against a spirited Pakistan side at the Emirates Durham ICG.
England’s 274 for six, in a contest reduced to 41 overs per side after heavy rain, was a tough target for the tourists - thanks to half-centuries from Davies and Jonathan Trott.
Davies' only previous one-day international came at last year's ICC Champions Trophy, but the 24-year-old left-hander was far from overawed by the occasion as he and Strauss put on 78 in a spirited opening stand.
“Steven Davies was outstanding with the bat and really got us off to a flying start,” Strauss said.
“Our score was very competitive on this wicket, but it was a really good wicket so we had to work hard in the field.
“It was a really good game of cricket. Pakistan did well to stay in the game but we’re pretty happy with what we’ve done.
“There’s a lot of confidence in our group at the moment; we’ve strung together quite a few one-day wins recently. The key is to not take our foot off the gas - just keep working hard and keep improving.”
Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Davies, whose innings spanned just 67 balls and featured 13 fours, was delighted with his contribution to the victory, England's sixth over Pakistan in seven meetings in all forms of cricket this summer.
“I’m very happy,” he told Sky Sports. “The pressure was on, opening the batting. It was just nice to score. As the innings went on I seemed to find a better rhythm.”
On playing alongside Strauss, he added: “It’s great. He’s very calm at the crease; we talked through things between overs. It was fantastic.”
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi felt he got a response from his side after successive heavy defeats in the two-match Twenty20 series, and singled out Shoaib Akhtar for praise after the veteran paceman gave up just 28 runs from his eight overs.
“I think the way Shoaib played, he really bowled well,” he said. “I’m not 100% happy but better than before.
“The way the guys played, we need some more intensity in the field and we should focus more on the bowling.
“I know in the next match the boys will perform better.”