At last, Pakistan They won one game and ended their losing streak by achieving a commanding 42-run win in the series that concluded the fifth T20I in New Zealand as they lost the first T20 series of 2024 by 4-1. After the win, captain Shaheen Afridi made a bold claim that the Pakistan team already knew 16 players from the supposed 20-man squad that will fly to the US and West Indies for the ICC T20 World Cup in June .
The series in New Zealand was Shaheen Afridi’s first major assignment after being named captain of the shortest format. He took over and succeeded star batsman Babar Azam, who resigned from the captaincy after Pakistan’s embarrassing exit in the group stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup in India last year.
But Shaheen’s tenure as captain did not get off to the best start as Pakistan lost four consecutive matches in the five-match series. They were coming off a disappointing tour of Australia, where they were beaten 3-0 in David Warner’s farewell series, but Pakistan will be happy to at least avoid another whitewash.
In the fifth T20 in Christchurch, the visitors batted first after winning the toss, but failed to post a dominant total on the board and asked New Zealand to chase just 135. In response, the Kiwi scored just 92 in 18 overs. , leaving everyone dumbfounded and thinking how is it possible that a team that recorded more than 180 totals in the previous matches could not even reach triple figures.
And that happened mainly because Pakistan knew their backs were against the wall and needed to get some positive momentum on their way back home after a long tour in which they played two of the best teams in the world.
While Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Nawaz took 2 wickets each, Zaman Khan and Usama Mir accounted for a scalp each, but the man who made the real difference was working part-time. Ahmed Iftikhar. The 33-year-old produced a player of the match winning effort by claiming 3 wickets at an economy rate of 6 in the 4 overs, while his outing with the bat was not very special, scoring just 5 runs.
Shaheen Afridi praises Iftikhar Ahmed, says Pakistan continuously supports young faces
During the post-match press conference, Shaheen Afridi praised Iftikhar Ahmed for his contribution with the ball and praised him for always putting the team’s needs before his desires. Afridi also stated that Pakistan is more than willing to give a chance to new young faces and believes that the team has already chosen its core players.
“Ifti is a very experienced player and is always ready to bowl, but we wanted to give everyone a proper opportunity, so we were planning to give opportunities to the youngsters in this series, we selected 16-20 players for the World Cup. World T20. “I want to thank everyone, the crowd was fantastic.” – said Shaheen Afridi.
Meanwhile, the 2009 T20 World Cup champions, who were runners-up in the last edition in Australia, will look to produce something similar or even better in the upcoming 20-team T20 World Cup, especially after a humiliating finish in the 50 meters World Cup. last year. The Green Army will begin their campaign against the United States in Dallas before taking on arch-rivals India in New York on June 9, with their final group matches taking place against Canada and Ireland on June 11 and 16.