Shoaib Akhtar has reckoned that New Zealand will be at a psychological disadvantage if Pakistan qualifies for the T20 World Cup 2021 final by beating Australia on Thursday. The former pacer added that unbeaten Pakistan will have to bring up their A-Game to beat Australia and enter the finals.
The comments from Shoaib Akhtar come after New Zealand defeated England by 5 wickets in the first semi-final in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Notably, Pakistan had defeated New Zealand by 5 wickets in the Super 12s. Also, the Kiwis had called off their white-ball tour of Pakistan after arriving in the country ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021. PCB had openly criticised New Zealand for their "unilateral" decision and accused them of "embarrassing" whole of Pakistan.
"Now, I want New Zealand to face Pakistan in the finals, because they have a psychological pressure of facing us. But for the first time, Pakistan has to play one of the most amazing cricket ever against Australia tomorrow. I can see that Pak-NZ in the finals. But Pakistan has to cross the river of fire to become the finalists," Shoaib Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
Akhtar crticises Morgan's strategy vs New Zealand
Further, Shoaib Akhtar criticised Eoin Morgan for his strategy against New Zealand. He opined that the England captain and Liam Livingstone should have batted up the order. Livingstone and Morgan scored 17 and 4* runs batting at fifth and sixth position respectively. England scored 166/4 in their 20 overs before New Zealand chased down the target with an over to spare. Daryl Mitchell starred for New Zealand with 47-ball 72.
"England sent out a very poor batting order. Livingston and Morgan should've batted up the order. If they would've come to bat at the 12th or 13th over, the score would've surely touched 170-175. But it wasn't to be. When it came to strategy of Morgan, I didn't like it at all. When Livingston got a wicket in the 16th over, Morgan should've given the ball to Rashid in the next over itself."
Akhtar also talked about New Zealand captain Kane Williamson who scored 5 from 11 on Wednesday.
''From both sides, the captaincy wasn't up to the mark. From both sides, the captain didn't bat greatly. Williamson is an anchor, he's not one for the helter-skelter. He should've played for a long time. But this was his lesson. He will always be a danger as long as he's in the middle," Akhtar concluded.