DUBAI // The last time Pakistan played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, against England in February, it required an Abdul Razzaq onslaught to lift them out of the state of extreme depression they were then inhabiting. Funny how history can repeat itself.
Back then, Waqar Younis was based in the Ten Sports commentary box. Soon after, an SOS went out to him to coach the national team in the fall-out of an investigation into Pakistan's trouble-rich tour of Australia.
But that pales in comparison to the furore over the spot-fixing scandal. Even as they were taking the field for the second one-day international in the capital, news was breaking from up in Dubai that Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer had lost their appeals against their provisional suspensions from the game.
How cricket should be thankful for the marvel that was Razzaq's sublime, match-winning century on Sunday night.
"I think we needed this sort of victory pretty badly," Waqar said, after the sides decamped from Abu Dhabi to Dubai yesterday.
"It will cover a lot of wounds in terms of whatever happened in the past. We are really looking forward to the next few games. It has really given us a boost, so we are happy for that.
"Razzaq was just outstanding … He made Pakistan proud."
For all Razzaq's heroics in Sunday's one-wicket win at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, South Africa have dominated 95 per cent of the series so far, according to Graeme Smith, the Proteas captain.
"We know Pakistan can be an unpredictable team and we know they can be a very dangerous team," said Smith, who could be fit to return to the side today.
"They proved that in England. They only lost that series 3-2, away from home, during the midst of all the chaos.
"[But] it is important for us to know they still have a lot of questions they still need to answer in terms of their own performance."