Pakistan down NZ to former cricketers’ delight

Nazir praises centurion openers Zaman, Azhar; Sallu lauds leggie Shadab


Nabil Tahir January 03, 2018
PHOTO COURTESY: TWITTER/ BLACKCAPS

KARACHI: Pakistan started their New Zealand limited-overs tour on a winning note as they beat hosts’ A side in a tour match by 120 runs on Wednesday at Nelson.

Openers Fakhar Zaman (105 and 84) and Azhar Ali (104 and 106) scored tons before they retired out, but the middle-order wasn’t able to fathom the pitches at Nelson and lost their wickets cheaply as Pakistan lingered on 234-5 in the 37th over, before ending the inning on 341-7.

Leggie Shadab Khan (24) and right-arm pacer Hasan Ali (36) became the saviours for Pakistan as they added important runs to the visitors’ total.

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“The openers did their job really well,” Pakistani opener Imran Nazir told The Express Tribune. “They led from the front and Pakistan needs this type of opening partnership when they take on the main New Zealand side in the ODI and T20I matches, who will pose a greater threat.”

Nazir criticised the middle-order for not backing the openers. “Right after the openers lost their wickets, the middle-order was unable to add much runs, which is not acceptable,” he said.

Shadab was exceptional: Sallu

When New Zealand XI walked in to the chase the target, Shadab ran over the hosts with a 4-52 in 9.1, while left-arm medium pacer Faheem Ashraf supported the spinner with two scalps of the openers.

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“The youngsters have been performing well and that is a good sign for the future of the team,” former selector Sallahuddin Sallu told The Express Tribune. “Shadab’s four-for was exceptional. He has the ability to trouble the batsmen, whereas Faheem, taking two wickets in these conditions, also ascertains his worth in the team as a performer in all conditions.”

Sallu added Pakistan possess a good bowling combination which will trouble New Zealand, and if the visitors plan accordingly, they can trouble the Kiwis.

New Zealand XI were able to manage only 221 runs in 47.1 overs after they lost all of their wickets.

Pakistan will now face New Zealand in five ODIs from January 6-19. The series will be followed by three T20Is from January 22-28.

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