After Pakistan registered their second consecutive match in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 by beating New Zealand by five wickets on Tuesday, Babar Azam said that the team will look to carry forward the confidence. Babar heaped rich praises on Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali.
Shaheen Afridi, one of Pakistan's star in their thumping win against India on Sunday, started off with a maiden over and leaked just 21 runs in his four overs, also taking the wicket of Tim Seifert. Haris Rauf was the most successful bowler for Pakistan on the day as he dismissed Martin Guptil, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner and gave away 22 runs only.
Later, in the 135-run chase, Shoaib Malik (26 off 20) and Asif Ali (27 off 12) played breathtaking cricket to help Pakistan, who were 87 for 5 in 14.5 overs at one stage, to win by 5 wickets and 8 balls remaining.
"Feels great to win and we'll look to carry forward the confidence. The spinners started off brilliantly, and Haris and Shaheen carried it through. I would like to compliment our fielding, that has carried us through here. I thought we gave 10 runs too many. But this is cricket and it happens. While batting, there were wickets early on and we needed a partnership. Malik showed experience and Asif Ali contributed too. Every match is crucial. There is no easy match. We'll look to play it day by day and game by game," Babar Azam said after the match.
Man of the Match Haris Rauf also praised the fielders and fellow bowlers for their support.
"I am happy with the performance, thanks to the team, the fielding unit, they supported the bowlers, the support staff and the fans for all the support they've given us. There's competition in the bowling unit, we have been playing together for two years, myself, Shaheen and Hasan Ali. We talk with each other, assess the conditions and we do get confidence from each other. The wicket of Guptill in the powerplay was the best amongst the four wickets. Thankful to everyone, my family, the way Lahore Qalandars supported me, I'm here today because of them," he said.
Earlier, Pakistan asked New Zealand to bat first after winning the match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Openers Martin Guptill (17 off 20) and Daryl Mitchell (27 off 20) helped New Zealand accumulate 42 runs for the loss of one wicket in the Powerplay overs. Guptill was clean bowled by Haris Rauf in the sixth over, while Mitchell departed after Fakhar Zaman took a catch off Imad Wasim's bowling.
Jimmy Nisham (1) walked in at No. 4 to join captain Kane Williamson but his 2-ball stay was ended by Mohmaad Hafeez as Zaman grabbed another catch. Kane Willaimson looking well set when an excellent field work from Hasan Ali forced him to walk back to the pavilion after a 26-ball 25.
Devon Conway chipped in with 27 off 24 but wickets kept on falling one after the other as the Kiwis were restricted to 134/8 in 20 overs. Shaheen Afridi, who started off with a maiden over took oen wicket for 21 runs, while Rauf ended up with figures of four for 22 in his four overs spell.
Chasing the target, Kane Williamson made quick bowling changes and his bolwers kept things tight in the middle to build pressure on Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan - Pakistan's opening duo who helped Pakistan seal a 10-wicket win against arch-rivals India on Sunday. Babar succumed to the pressure and was bowled by Tim Southee to become his 100th T20I dismissal.
Fakhan Zaman tried to raise the tempo with a massive six off Ish Sodhi but was soon trapped in front of the stumps by the spinner. Hafeez (11 off 6) also departed after hitting one maximum. Pakistan's No. 5 Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim tried building a partnership but Trent Boult struck in the 15th overs to hunt down the latter.
48 runs were needed off 31 balls when Asif Ali joined Malik. The 30-year-old right-hander got off to the mark by hitting a boundary through point. Malik also showed intent in next over, hitting a boundary off Sodhi. Southee took the responsibility of bbowling the 17th over but was treated hasrshly by Ali, who had smacked two back-to-back sixes before being hit on the helmet by the speedster.
24 runs were needed in the last three and Malik hit a boundary on the first ball of the 18th over from Mitchell Santner. A ball later, the experineced campaigner charged down the ground to smack a gigantic six over long-off. Pakisan needed 9 runs from 12 after the end of the expensive over.
Asif Ali hit another six and off Boult this time and then ran a double to hand his pumped up team a 5-wicket win with 8 balls remaining.