Ashraf Ali Siddiqui welcomes a Pakistani victory
Partly restoring their pride Pakistani team won the tri-series trophy in New Zealand which Bangladesh also contested along with host New Zealand. Iftikhar Ahmed hit a winning six on the last ball he faced against New Zealand in Christchurch and Mohammad Nawaz scored an impressive 38 of 22 balls to steer Pakistan to a five-wicket victory in the T20 tri-series final. Chasing 164 against the runners-up of last year’s World Cup, Pakistan’s middle order came good to secure victory with three balls to spare and clinch the tri-series which also included Bangladesh.
Put into bat, New Zealand lost both their openers in the first six power-play overs though they continued to score at a healthy rate. Skipper Kane Williamson top-scored for them with a crafty 59 while Glenn Phillips (29) and Mark Chapman (25) chipped in with cameos to lay the foundation for a big total. Pakistan, however, bowled brilliantly in the back end of the New Zealand innings, conceding only 33 runs in the last five overs to restrict the hosts to a modest total. The tourists lost skipper Babar Azam (15) in the power-play but Mohammad Rizwan, currently the top-ranked T20 batter, made 34 to keep them on course.
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022
Pakistan went into the tri-series with questions around their middle order but Haider Ali blasted 31 and Mohammad Nawaz (38) and Iftikhar Ahmed (25) produced unbeaten cameos to ease those concerns and seal a comfortable victory. The way the middle order played was outstanding. Nawaz was named the player of the match for his unbeaten 38 runs off 22 balls.
In the meanwhile, Pakistan has made one change in their squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022 with Fakhar Zaman and Usman Qadir swapping places. Fakhar has been included in the 15-player squad and Usman has been moved to the traveling reserves. Confirming the news, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated that the change was necessary as Qadir is yet to recover from a hairline fracture on his right thumb that he suffered during the 25 September T20I against England in Karachi.
The leg-spinner will not be available for selection before 22 October. Fakhar will arrive in Brisbane from London along with Shaheen Shah Afridi on Saturday and will be available for selection in the two warm-up matches against England (17 October) and Afghanistan (19 October), during which the team management will assess the left-handed batsman’s fitness. The Weekender