Pakistan on top after two great wins

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Pakistan, ably captained by Babar Azam, won their second match out of two to lead Group 2 teams in the Twenty20 World Cup.

After thrashing India by 10 wickets on Sunday the 24th October at Dubai, they kept the momentum going by beating New Zealand by five wickets last night at Sharjah.

Sent in to bat, the Kiwis totaled 8 for 134 in the 20 overs as the Pakistani fast bowler Haris Rauf captured 4 for 22.

The game was in balance when Pakistan lost 5 wickets for 87 runs off 89 deliveries. New Zealander Devon Conway took a sensational catch in the deep to dismiss Mohammad Hafeez for 11.

Pakistan needed 48 runs off 31 runs when Asif Ali joined the tall Shoaib Malik. They batted brilliantly as their team won by 5 wickets with 8 balls remaining. They hit fours and sixes galore without surrendering their wicket. Special praise for Asif as he hit three tall sixes despite being hit on the helmet off a bouncer from Tim Southee and feeling groggy.

For his brilliant performance of taking four wickets, express fast bowler Haris Rauf was made Player of the Match.

He said at the presentation, “I want to thank Allah. The team fielded very well and supported the bowlers. The fans supported us throughout and helped us to this win. We support each other and discuss our plans with each other. That gives us confidence and support. Guptill’s dismissal was the key one. They were building momentum at that time. I just want to thank Lahore Qalandars, too, who have supported me a lot. They’re the reason I’m here.”

Pak skipper Babar Azam added, “It’s always good to win, we’ll take this confidence forward in the tournament. The way the bowlers, Shaheen [Afridi] and Haris Rauf especially bowled was very impressive. I think we gave them 10 runs too many, but it’s cricket and that can happen. We lost wickets early but I want to give credit to Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali. Every game is crucial. We want to take it game by game and do well in all departments of the game.”


The tall, fair and handsome Pakistani fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam and his opening batting partner Mohammad Rizwan were the heroes of Pakistan’s convincing 10 wicket victory over India last Sunday. Afridi took three wickets including those of openers Rohit Sharma for a duck, Lokesh Rahul for 3 and skipper Virat Kohli for 57.

Then Pakistan openers Babar (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) smashed 152 runs to triumph by 10 wickets.

Will India come back with vengeance in their next match against New Zealand on 1st November? I have full confidence in Virat Kohli’s men to shine out in their subsequent matches against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia to qualify for the semi-final.

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