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Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, and Virat Kohli share a heartfelt moment after Ind vs Pak game | Photo: T20 World Cup / ICC
Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, and Virat Kohli share a heartfelt moment after Ind vs Pak game | Photo: T20 World Cup / ICC
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Everything Pakistan Cricketers Touched, Turned Into Gold: Imad Wasim On Beating India In 2021 T20 World Cup Game

Pakistan had beaten Virat Kohli-led India by 10 wickets to begin their T20 World Cup campaign in style. 48 days after his country’s historic win at the Dubai International Stadium, all-rounder Imad Wasim opened up on what he hailed as a “perfect” win against India in the 2021 T20 World Cup group stage encounter.

The stat that made rounds on Twitter ahead of the blockbuster encounter was Pak’s inability to clinch a victory against India in World Cup meetings. And with India touted as title favourites, and Pak enduring a struggling run of form in the format, most expected the usual result to make the headline.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan’s Imad Wasim Enjoyed The Occasion And Was Grateful For The Opportunity To Represent Pakistan In A Once In A Lifetime T20I WC

But Babar Azam’s men scripted history to clinch their maiden 10-wicket win in T20Is and their maiden win in World Cups against India to make a thumping statement in their T20 World Cup opener. In a conversation, Imad Wasim was grateful for the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity of representing his country in a match against India.

“It was really good and beating India always provides some special moments for everyone involved in Pak cricket. Of course, I enjoyed the occasion and the match, and the result was just perfect.

“There was pressure on us, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play against India in a Twenty20 World Cup and I was really grateful for that opportunity,” he said.

Imad Wasim
Imad Wasim (Image Credit: Twitter)

Imad Wasim then opined that it was a near-perfect performance, but felt that it would be impossible for the side to replicate such dominance against India in the future.

“It felt like everything we touched that day turned to gold. Make no mistake, India are a very, very good side, but we just outclassed them on the day.

“The way we played was just fantastic and I would say that it was a near-perfect performance. In fact, I would go so far as to say that what we achieved on that day will be difficult to replicate in the future,” he added.

India went on to lose their second game as well, against New Zealand before winning three in a row. But the wins weren’t enough to confirm their place in the semis. India’s arch-rivals though won all their group games and but lost to Australia in the semis.

Shaheen Shah Afridi ran through Team India’s top-order after he got rid of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in his opening spell. Then he came back to dismiss Virat Kohli, who scored a half-century. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

But in the end, the target of 152 was not enough as Pak openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scored 79*, and 68*, respectively, to win the match for their team by 10 wickets with 13 balls to spare.

Imad Wasim Feels India And Pakistan Should Play Regularly Against Each Other

Imad Wasim also called for cricketing ties to resume between the two neighbouring countries, saying that India and Pakistan should play regularly against each other.

“As a player, you always want to compete at the highest level and against the best teams which is why these games are so special for us. I feel that being two world-class teams, India and Pakistan should play regularly against each other.”

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“But having said that, I also understand that there are political reasons which prevent this from happening. This is sad because sports, especially cricket, can unite nations and I do think that we should have bilateral series between the two countries. Not only will this will be good for the game of cricket, but it will also be great both for cricket and for humanity too,” he concluded.

The win against India in the 2021 T20I World Cup was Pakistan’s first win in 13 World Cup matches (seven in the 50 over World Cup and six in the Twenty20 World Cup) dating back to 1992 in Australia.

The two neighbouring countries have not played bilateral cricket since January 2013 wherein Pakistan visited their neighbours wherein they played 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs. The two teams have not met in a bilateral Test series since the 2007-08 season.

Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Mohammad Rizwan Reveals Seriousness Of Severe Laryngeal Infection Before Semi-Final Where He Top Scored With 67

Mohammad Rizwan, the Pakistan opening batsman, and wicket-keeper who made a full recovery, has shared details of the seriousness of the injury and recalled what he was told by the nurses upon admission.

Shortly after Mohammad Rizwan played a heroic inning of 67 against Australia in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup, images of the Pakistan opener laying in a hospital bed emerged. During the mid-innings interval, batting coach Matthew Hayden revealed in an interview to the host broadcaster that Mohammad Rizwan was ill even until the day before the match but managed to muster the courage to turn up for the crunch tie.
Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mohammad Rizwan’s Both Windpipes Would Have Burst If He Was Late To Reach Hospital By 20 Minutes

Mohammad Rizwan was hospitalized and remained in the ICU due to a severe chest infection. He had been suffering from intermittent fever, persistent cough, and chest tightness for 3-5 days before being hospitalized. After the tests were conducted, the results confirmed that Mohammad Rizwan had severe laryngeal infection leading to an oesophagal spasm and bronchospasm.

Mohammad Rizwan Twitter/AFP
Mohammad Rizwan Twitter/AFP

The Pakistan batter, who made a full recovery, has shared details of the seriousness of the injury and recalled what he was told by the nurses upon admission.

“When I reached the hospital, I wasn’t breathing. And the nurses told me that my windpipes were choked. They were not telling me anything. I was told that I would get better by morning and be discharged. During the afternoon, I was told that I will be discharged in the evening.

“So, I asked one of the nurses and then I was told that had it been late in reaching the hospital by 20 minutes, both my windpipes would have burst. You will have to be there for two nights or more,” Rizwan told Cricket Pakistan.

Mohammad Rizwan was treated by an Indian doctor, who was astonished by the batter’s recovery. The Pakistan opener has achieved a massive milestone in the match against Australia on Thursday. He became the only player to score 1,000 T20I runs in a calendar year. He has 281 runs to account for in this T20 WC 2021, averaging 70.25.

Mohammad Rizwan has played 23 T20Is for Pakistan in 2021, and he has smashed 1033 runs at an average of 86.08 and strike rate of 136.45. He has also smashed 10 half-centuries and one century during this period, with his highest career-best score being unbeaten 104.

Mohammad Rizwan Was Able To Make A Quick Recovery Although There Were Risks Involved Before As Earlier Doctor Told Him He’s Not In A Condition To Play

The Pakistan batter revealed that the entire time, playing the semi-final was always on his mind, and its motivation played a massive role in Mohammad Rizwan getting back on his feet.

“They used to conduct regular tests but the constant thought in my mind was that I’ll soon get fit to play the match. The doctor told me that he wanted me to play the semi-final for Pakistan which gave me a boost. But later, when he told me that ‘Rizwan, you are not in a condition to play’… that took me back a little. He told me there are risks involved. Thankfully, things started getting better and I was able to make a quick recovery,” added Rizwan.

Mohammad Rizwan (Image credit: Twitter) Photograph:( AFP )
Mohammad Rizwan (Image credit: Twitter) Photograph:( AFP )

The 29-year-old Mohammad Rizwan top-scored for his side despite spending two days in a hospital intensive care unit ahead of the Australia clash due to a chest infection. Mohammad Rizwan, 29, came out of the intensive care unit of a Dubai hospital to top-score with 67 in Pakistan’s 176-4 on Thursday, but his efforts were in vain as eventual T20I World Cup winners Australia overhauled that total to set up a title clash with New Zealand, where the Kiwis lost.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Matthew Hayden Praised Commitment Of Pakistan Cricketers Against India Which Set The Tone For Men In Green To Reach Semis Of The 2021 T20I World Cup

Matthew Hayden, Pakistan’s batting consultant, believes the 10-wicket thrashing of arch-rivals India set the tone for his side in the ongoing T20 World Cup and cited the players’ commitment to training and spirituality as the reasons for a stupendous unbeaten run so far.

With five wins out of as many games in the group stages, Pakistan is one of the favourites to lift the T20 World Cup and will take on Australia in the semifinal on Thursday.

Matthew Hayden
Matthew Hayden (Image Credit: Twitter)

Matthew Hayden Thinks Being A Part Of Australian Squad In His Career Years Will Give Him Insights For Pakistan As A Batting Consultant

Matthew Hayden, who was roped in as batting consultant for the mega-event, heaped praise on skipper Babar Azam for showing wonderful temperament and control during a high-pressure campaign.

“The highlight…the first game that we played here at Dubai, where we’re playing tomorrow night, against India, and just how under immense pressure…only comparable to the Ashes series, just how these boys wonderfully handled very calmly and very confidently their approach to playing such a huge match,” Matthew Hayden told reporters in the pre-match press conference.

“I think that game really set us up for what has been a really lovely four weeks of solid work, great commitment to training, great purpose in general.

“…also a wonderful heart connect to Islam and how spirituality has played its role within the Pakistan team as a great guide and tool for everyone to come together,” Matthew Hayden added.

Tactically on Thursday, Australia’s Matthew Hayden will be up against his former opening colleague Justin Langer, who is the chief coach of Australia. He believes his knowledge about Australian players and cricketing culture will hold Pakistan in good stead.

Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

“It is a very unusual feeling. As you all know, I was a warrior for Australian cricket over two decades, so that does give me the benefit of having wonderful insights not only into these players but also into the culture of cricket in Australia,” Matthew Hayden said.

“I guess from my point of view there is the challenge of the heart, the challenge of the mind in terms of what’s going to happen over the next 24 hours, but I’ll also say very proudly that it’s been wonderful to be a part of Pakistan cricket,” Matthew Hayden added.

Matthew Hayden feels that the T20 World Cup title is of great significance to Pakistan, which has been deprived of hosting international cricket for a long time due to security concerns.

“Yes, this is an extremely important tournament for Pakistan…I feel that as a nation that loves cricket as much as it does, and as focused so heavily on cricket, and also to have tournaments including the ones that I was a part of (being) cancelled for numerous reasons, it’s never more important,” he said.

“…and the awareness is heightened that out of this great nation we’ve got a squad of players here that are ready to perform and are ready to take on not only the semifinals but should we, inshallah, get beyond that, the finals.”

Against India, skipper Babar Azam and fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan knocked off the target of 152 odd in 17.5 overs without losing a single wicket. Babar Azam hit 68, not out, while Mohammed Rizwan finished with an undefeated 79. The win against India was Pakistan’s first win in 13 World Cup matches (seven in the 50 over World Cup and six in the Twenty20 World Cup) dating back to 1992 in Australia.

Matthew Hayden Praised Babar Azam And Shaheen Shah Afridi

Matthew Hayden spoke highly of Babar Azam and said his personality is completely opposite to that of India’s Virat Kohli, a contemporary great of the game.

“Babar and his personality is what you see is what you get. He’s very consistent. He’s very stable. He’s not overly flamboyant.In fact I’d go as far as to say he’s almost the opposite personality to someone like Virat Kohli, who’s very animated, very passionate, and very boisterous on the field. Got great control, and he’s got a wonderful temperament.

“…just to give you an insight into that talent, his ability to be able to consistently react to the ball is really second to none that I’ve seen. He picks up the line and the length of the ball quicker than the average cricketer that’s going around, and that’s the mark of someone that’s a very fine player,” he said.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
He also praised pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi and termed his dismissal of KL Rahul as one of the best he has ever seen.

“Those number of balls, though, can be destructive, as we saw from his delivery to KL Rahul, one of the best balls that I’ve seen ever, apart from the last two or three months of observing cricket in this country and in the UAE.

“He’s got that ability like every good strike bowler to be able to commit to wonderful pace, which means that his preparation, his recovery and his just ability in general to be able to focus on delivering fast bowling day in, day out,” he further stated.

Shaheen Shah Afridi ran through Team India’s top-order after he got rid of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in his opening spell. Then he came back to dismiss Virat Kohli, who scored a half-century. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

Pakistan batters Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik, who suffered from “mild flu” and now have been deemed fit for the T20 World Cup semifinal against Australia on Thursday.

Shoaib Malik. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Shoaib Malik. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
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Shoaib Malik Felt Disappointed On Missing Out To Make It To Pakistan’s Initial 2021 T20I World Cup Squad

Shoaib Malik said he has a “self-obsession” of seeing himself fit and also revealed his disappointment at missing out on Pakistan’s initial squad which then propelled the batter to a starring role at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

The veteran batter, 39, struggled badly for form in the Caribbean Premier League and missed out on Misbah-ul-Haq’s initial selection for the tournament. Shoaib Malik just managed 67 runs in 11 CPL games averaging a pathetic 7.44 at an extremely poor strike rate of 59.82.

Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik- Twitter

Shoaib Malik Felt Disappointed On Missing Out From Pakistan’s Initial Squad For 2021 T20I World Cup

But Shoaib Malik managed to work his way back into contention and his brutal 18-ball fifty in Pakistan’s 72-run win over Scotland was the ultimate statement of intent. Shoaib Malik’s last T20I was in September 2020, and his last ODI was in June 2019 before being selected in the T20I World cup 2021.

He played 35 Tests, 287 ODIs, and 121 T20Is, amassing over 10,000 runs in all three formats combined, averaging above 30 in each. Shoaib Malik became the first Pakistani batsman to score 10,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket in October 2020.

Pakistan batter Shoaib Malik (Photo: Twitter/T20 World Cup)
Pakistan batter Shoaib Malik (Photo: Twitter/T20 World Cup)

“I was playing on the Caribbean Premier League when they have announced the first team, and my name was not there,” he said in the post-match press conference on Sunday.

“Of course I felt bad. I was very disappointed. But I’ve seen a lot of the teams where my name was not there, so of course when you’re not part of the World Cup team, then it hurts. But as a professional cricketer or as a professional athlete your goal is to talk to yourself and somehow come out from that frustration.”

“I had the opportunity because I was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, and then I’ve come back, I played a domestic tournament because I still enjoy going to the ground, and that’s what keeps me going.”

Shoaib Malik hit six sixes in what was Pakistan’s fastest-ever T20I fifty and the eighth quickest of all time. It helped his side post 189 which was enough for victory, seeing them top Group 2 and set up a semi-final clash with Australia.

Shoaib Malik Would Say He Has Self Obsession Of Seeing Himself Fit

Despite the length of his service in the international game, having made his debut in 1999, Shoaib Malik remains one of the fittest members of his squad. It’s clear that sheer vanity plays a part in him having maintained such high physical standards.

“Well, to be honest, I would say I have self-obsession of seeing myself fit when I look at it in the mirror,” he said.

Shoaib Malik added some quick runs
Shoaib Malik added some quick runs © AFP/Getty Images.

“Most importantly I’m still enjoying playing cricket, and it’s helping, as well, end of the day towards the team. I guess if you want to stay fit, then you’ve got to train every day, and that’s what I have been doing. I’m not sure about playing a year more or two more years. Right now I’m middle of a very important thing and not thinking about all that,” he added.

Veteran batsman Shoaib Malik was later included in Pakistan’s Twenty20 World Cup squad, replacing top-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood, who was ruled out due to a back problem. Shoaib Malik scored 26*, 19, and 54* in 3 innings at T20I WC 2021.

Shoaib Malik smashed a quickfire 18-ball 54 not out — the fastest half-century of the tournament — as Pakistan scored 189-2 in 20 overs before keeping Scotland down to 117-6.

This gave Pakistan a mouth-watering semi-final against Australia in Dubai — a repeat of the 2010 T20 World Cup last four which the Australians won on the last ball in St Lucia. Veteran Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik admitted a T20 World Cup semi-final against a formidable Australia will give him “butterflies”.

Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
Former India skipper Kapil Dev (Photo | PTI)
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Indian Players Should Prioritise Playing For Nation Rather Than IPL, Says Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev pointed out a couple of reasons which resulted in India’s underwhelming performance at the T20 World Cup after New Zealand’s win against Afghanistan saw India being knocked out despite starting as favourites and title contenders for the showpiece event.

Legendary all-rounder and former World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev feels the BCCI and Indian cricket should start planning immediately for the next World Cup instead of leaving things for later.

Kapil Dev lifting the 1983 World Cup | Reuters
Kapil Dev lifting the 1983 World Cup | Reuters

Kapil Dev: India Should Start Planning Right Away For Next 2022 T20I World Cup

The year 2022 will stage the next T20 World Cup, and with India not able to qualify for the knockouts this year – the first time it has happened in eight ICC events – Kapil Dev pointed out a couple of reasons which resulted in India’s underwhelming performance at the ongoing T20 World Cup.

“It’s time to look at the future. You should start planning right away. It’s not that since the World Cup is over, the Indian team’s entire cricket is too. Go and plan. I just feel that there should have been some gap between IPL and the World Cup. But this is certainly there that our players today have a lot of exposure but they could not make the most of it,” Kapil said.

T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India exited the ongoing 2021 T20I World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan to book the second semi-final berth from Group 2 on Sunday.

Virat Kohli’s team came into the tournament as hot favourites but let their future depend on other teams after big losses to rivals Pakistan, who were the first team to make the final four, and then the Kiwis. India crashed out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand registered an 8-wicket win over Afghanistan to join Pakistan, England, and Australia in the semi-final.

Kapil Dev: Players Should Take Pride In Playing For Their Nation Instead Of Prioritizing IPL Over Country

Kapil Dev went on to make a big statement, saying that certain cricketers prefer playing the Indian Premier League and do not give importance to representing the country first, and explained that the BCCI needs to look into it. Although Kapil Dev insisted that he is not against the idea of cricketers playing franchise cricket, the order should be the other way round.

“When players prioritise IPL over playing for the country, we what can we say. Players should take pride in playing for their nation. I don’t know their financial conditions so can’t say much. But I feel that first in line should be the country’s team and then franchises.

“I’m not saying do not play cricket there (for the franchise), but the responsibility is now on the BCCI to plan its cricket better. To not repeat mistakes we committed in this tournament is the biggest learning for us,” added Kapil.

IPL Trophy
IPL Trophy, Image Credits: Twitter

India thrashed Afghanistan and Scotland, but it was all too late, and now they find themselves out of the tournament even before their final game against Namibia on Monday. On the eve of their last league game in Group Two against minnows Namibia, Virat Kohli & Co. bowed out of a campaign in which they never really belonged.

The two losses to Pakistan and New Zealand -in which they got outplayed – had already put India on the exit path. From there, it was more of a battle pitching hope against hope, and it eventually all came crashing with New Zealand’s eight-wicket win over Afghanistan.

However, not managing to bring a single ICC Trophy back home between 2017 and 2021 will remain a barren patch in an otherwise pleasant run for this team. The same will stand true for Virat Kohli as he bows out of T20 captaincy and could also relinquish the same in the 50-over format very soon.

India National Cricket Team.
India National Cricket Team. Image Credits: BCCI
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Gautam Gambhir Disappointed Over India’s Early Exit In T20I World Cup 2021 But Urged Fans To Continue Supporting India

Gautam Gambhir, the former Indian opener, expressed his disappointment over India crashing out of the T20 World Cup and urged the fans not to support the team.

India exited the ongoing 2021 T20I World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan to book the second semi-final berth from Group 2 on Sunday.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir Never Felt Good Seeing India Waiting To Proceed To Semi-Finals Depending On Other Team Results

Virat Kohli’s team came into the tournament as hot favourites but let their future depend on other teams after big losses to rivals Pakistan, who were the first team to make the final four, and then the Kiwis.

In his column, Gautam Gambhir wrote, “This was never a good feeling. As a sportsperson, you’d want to be the master of your destiny rather than wait for a few permutations to go right to know how far you are progressing in a competition. Indian team would tell you what I mean.”

“Champions train to win, they work hard to score that one run more than the opposition and not wait for the result of the New Zealand vs Afghanistan match to know their fate. Crashing out in this manner or for that matter losing out on Net Run Rate like South Africa is a bitter pill to swallow,” Gautam Gambhir said.

India was knocked out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan. (AP Photo)
India was knocked out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan. (AP Photo)

India crashed out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand registered an 8-wicket win over Afghanistan to join Pakistan, England, and Australia in the semi-final.

“Both these instances underline one common fact – relevance of respecting the small dots while designing a road map to victory. There is no place for ifs and buts in sport, but things could have been different if India had planned better for Shaheen Shah Afridi, or assessed the pitch better when they took on New Zealand in the second game,” Gautam Gambhir said.

“For South Africa, they may be ruing their lack of aggression while chasing a small target of 85 against Bangladesh. Is there a lesson there for the organisers? Should the format be a round-robin, where every team plays each other, rather than have two groups?” Gautam Gambhir questioned.

India crashed to a humiliating 10-wicket defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan in their first match of the tournament. It was followed by another crushing loss against New Zealand. Despite these two defeats, India was still in a three-team fight to finish second in Group 2.

With New Zealand and Afghanistan winning three and two matches respectively from their four matches, and with a better net run rate, the inaugural 2007 T20I World Cup champions needed a massive win against Scotland in Dubai, UAE. India did it in style by first dismissing Scotland for a lowly 85, then chasing it down in just 6.3 overs for their biggest T20I win (in terms of balls to spare).

India managed to leapfrog both New Zealand and Afghanistan in terms of the Net Run Rate (NRR) following their emphatic 8-wicket win against Scotland. However, despite the massive win, India’s semi-final chances were not in their hands. India still hoped for Afghanistan to beat the Kiwis and beat Namibia in their final group match on November 8. But fate had other plans in store for India.

Gautam Gambhir Would Urge Fans To Be Proud Of Indian Team

New Zealand earned the last semi-final slot with a comprehensive eight-wicket win against Afghanistan in their final Group II match on Sunday. Najibullah Zadran smashed a career-best 73 to rescue Afghanistan from a top-order collapse and propelled them to 124-8 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. New Zealand gunned down the target in 18.1 overs to become the second team from Group II, behind Pakistan, to make the semis.

“I’d also urge the fans to continue to be proud of the Indian team. We will be disrespectful and unfaithful as their supporters if we judged them on this solitary performance in the ongoing World Cup. Yes, we lost to Pakistan. Yes, we were beaten on strategy by New Zealand. Yes, our friends from across the border are in the semis and we are not,” Gautam Gambhir said.

“But hold on. This Indian team won us a series in Australia early this year. Next they turned it around when England visited India to beat them in all three formats. We currently lead them 2-1 in the away Test series with the last game to be played next year,” Gautam Gambhir asserted.

T20 World Cup 2021: Najibullah Zadran scored 73 runs. This is the best innings of T20 career. (AP)
T20 World Cup 2021: Najibullah Zadran scored 73 runs. This is the best innings of T20 career. (AP)

India thrashed Afghanistan and Scotland, but it was all too late, and now they find themselves out of the tournament even before their final game against Namibia on Monday.

“Before we take them to the cleaners, please pause and think that all these games were played in a bio-secure bubble. I know a few individuals who were petrified answering their doorbell when Covid-19 was at its peak, leave alone stepping out to work.

“But players were training at home, taking flights, quarantining in a hotel room, living a bubbled life to play and entertain you and me. Yes, they are paid handsomely and it’s a professional world out there. How about just saying, “well-tried, boys”, Gautam Gambhir signed off.

The outcome eliminated India, who will finish their group campaign against Namibia on Monday.

Shadab Khan and Asif Ali. Pic: t20worldcup.com
Shadab Khan and Asif Ali. Pic: t20worldcup.com
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Shadab Khan Isn’t Surprised With Finisher Asif Ali’s Batting Prowess In T20I WC 2021

Shadab Khan, Pakistan’s vice-captain, has stated that he is least surprised with Asif Ali’s success as a late-order hitter in the T20 World Cup 2021. According to the leg-spinner Shadab Khan, he has seen Asif Ali achieve similar feats in domestic and franchise cricket, so he was always aware of the batter’s striking potential.

Asif Ali smashed an unbeaten 27 off 12 balls against New Zealand and followed it up with 25* off 7 against Afghanistan, which included four sixes in an over. In both matches, the 30-year-old lifted Pakistan to victory from tense circumstances.

Asif Ali.
Asif Ali. File Photo.

Shadab Khan: Confident And In Form Asif Ali Can Play Like That

Shadab Khan, who was at the non-striker’s end when Asif Ali clobbered Afghanistan pacer Karim Janat for four sixes, said he was a bit angry at his partner when he refused a single during the closing stages of the match.

However, speaking to t20worldcup.com, the leggie Shadab Khan admitted: “I knew he has more power than me. He’s done it so many times in domestic cricket also. I have seen him play for Islamabad United. When he is in good form and has the confidence, he can play like that. He is a great player and now, thank God, he is performing at the international level as well. He has done so much hard work, and now it’s paying off.”

Shadab Khan (File Photo)
Shadab Khan (File Photo)

Asif Ali Never Stopped Working Hard, And His Dream Is To Win The 2021 T20I WC

30-year-old Asif Ali has not been a constant fixture in the Pakistan team, and nothing extraordinary was expected of him when he was chosen in the T20 World Cup 2021 squad.

Asked how he prepared for the tournament, the big-hitting batter explained: “I never stopped working hard. I played domestic tournaments and many leagues. There is nothing extra special about me or my talent.”

Asif Ali. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Asif Ali. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

On the four sixes he hit against Afghanistan, he asserted that he had the confidence to pull it off.

Asif Ali said: “I had planned with Shoaib (Malik) that we would attack in the next over. I felt I could finish the game and I did the same. There was a single on offer but I refused it.”

Asif Ali signed off saying that he wants already qualified Pakistan to win the World Cup to give the fans some joy.

He concluded: “The performances have been very good because we have been playing as a unit. My dream is to win the World Cup and give more joy to our fans back home.”

Having already qualified for the semi-finals, Pakistan will take on Scotland in their last Super 12 encounter in Sharjah on Sunday. Big-hitting Asif Ali was nominated along with David Wiese and Shakib Al Hasan in ICC Player Of The Month Award.

Pakistan recently played four intense T20 matches and emerged victorious against teams that put up a great fight. Two of those wins, against New Zealand and Afghanistan, were credited to the stellar performance of Asif Ali in the final overs.

The undefeated team has now pledged to dedicate their possible T20 World Cup win to Asif Ali’s late daughter, Noor Fatima.  The cricketer lost his 18-month-old daughter to blood cancer back in 2019. The child passed away after a prolonged fight against fourth-stage cancer while Asif Ali was on a month-long tour with the team in England.

Sri Lanka, West Indies
Image Credit: Twitter
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ICC Confirms 8 Of 12 Teams To Play T20I World Cup 2022 Super 12 Stage; Sri Lanka, West Indies Out

ICC confirmed eight of the twelve teams that will play in the Super12 stage of the T20 World Cup 2022 next year, following the 2016 T20I WC defending champions West Indies‘ defeat to Australia.

West Indies lost their final league game of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 to Australia, meaning the defending champions’ campaign at this edition came to an end on Saturday. Following the same, automatic qualifiers for the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 are now confirmed.

Out of the 12 automatic qualifiers for the 2022 edition of the tournament, eight of the twelve teams from this year will go through directly into the Super12 stage. As the T20 World Cup 2022 will be held in Australia, they are the first team to go through as the host nation. The remaining seven teams are England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

West Indies
West Indies. Image Credits: Twitter

ICC Confirms Automatic Qualifiers For The 2022 T20I World Cup In Australia

The automatic qualifiers for the T20 World Cup 2022 are to be decided by the winner and the runners-up of the ongoing T20 World Cup, along with six teams that are ranked next highest on the ICC Men’s T20I rankings by November 15, which is the cut-off date for the same. Therefore, West Indies and Sri Lanka will need to play an additional qualifying round to enter the Super 12 stage of the next T20 World Cup in 2022.

“The automatic qualifiers for the Super 12 stage were determined to be the winner and runner-up of the current T20 World Cup, alongside the next six highest ranking teams on the ICC Men’s T20I rankings at the cut-off date of November 15,” the ICC stated.

ICC- International Cricket Council , AFP File Photo
ICC- International Cricket Council, AFP File Photo

“On Saturday, the teams that will fill those spots were confirmed courtesy of West Indies’ loss to Australia, which means they will sit 10th by the cut-off date, with Bangladesh climbing to eighth,” it further said. 

England, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia are the current top six teams. However, before West Indies’ clash with Australia, these six teams confirmed that their rankings will not go down during the remainder of the 2021 T20 World Cup.

West Indies Slipped Down To 10th Spot In Rankings While Sri Lanka Is Just Above Them At Ninth

West Indies losing to Australia also ensured that Afghanistan, which is ranked seventh at the moment, will not drop below eighth, no matter what will be the outcome of their upcoming games in this edition. With this defeat, West Indies dropped down to the tenth spot, with Sri Lanka just above them at ninth. Bangladesh has risen to the eighth position, thus gaining the cut for the 2022 edition.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka. Image Credits: Twitter

West Indies, therefore, will have to play the first round of the 2022 tournament to make it to the Super12s. They will be accompanied by Sri Lanka, Namibia, and Scotland in the same. West Indies managed to win just one match in the ongoing tournament, while Bangladesh lost all its games in the Super 12 stage.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Pakistan Have No Preferences Regarding Semi-Final Opponents, Says Mohammed Hafeez

Mohammad Hafeez, the veteran Pakistan all-rounder, says such is Pakistan’s form at the Twenty20 World Cup. They are brimming with confidence and have no preferences as to who they play in the semi-finals.

Pakistan has been unstoppable since their historic 10-wicket win over bitter rivals India at the beginning of the campaign. The 2009 champions have gone on to beat a strong New Zealand side, Afghanistan and Namibia.

Mohammed Hafeez Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of ESPNcricinfo

Mohammad Hafeez: Pakistan Ready Irrespective Of Opponent At Semi-Finals In T20I World Cup

Pakistan will face the runners-up of Group 1, likely to be either Australia or South Africa, who play their last group matches later on Saturday. However, Mohammad Hafeez — a former captain of the Twenty20 side — said Pakistan was ready for any opponent.

If Pakistan remains undefeated and beats Scotland, they will face Australia in Dubai. On the other hand, if New Zealand beat Afghanistan and Pakistan lose against Scotland, the Black Caps will top the points table, and the Men In Green will rank second. In this situation, Pakistan will play against England in Abu Dhabi.

Regardless of the result of Pakistan’s match against Scotland, if Afghanistan beats New Zealand and India beats Namibia comprehensively, Pakistan will be table toppers and play against Australia.

“To be honest, when it comes to a cricket match we don’t think about who we want to play,” said 41-year-old Hafeez on Saturday on the eve of their match with Scotland.

“Whoever comes we are ready for that as our confidence is high, we are shaping up well and we are performing well. But first we have a game against Scotland so we need to take them on with the same intensity and confidence. The goal is to win the Cup for the nation and we are close to that.”

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

Pakistan has won all its three T20Is against Scotland, once in the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007 and two in Scotland in 2018. Mohammad Hafeez said there was extra satisfaction over their strong performances, considering the tricky lead-up they had to the tournament. Pakistan’s win over Namibia has now confirmed their final-four spot, leaving only Scotland in their path to a 100% group-stage win rate.

“We played only one match out of five in the West Indies due to the weather,” he said.

“Then New Zealand and England abandoned their tours so we were short on that front but the whole team and the management have done well in this tournament.”

New Zealand abandoned their tour due to a security alert, minutes before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi in September, and then England withdrew from two T20Is in October, citing players’ mental and physical health problems. As a result, the seven home T20Is (against England and New Zealand) in Lahore and Rawalpindi was to be played from 25 September to 14 October in Pakistan, which eventually didn’t happen.

Mohammad Hafeez: Win Against India Gave Pakistan Confidence

Mohammad Hafeez singled out the first match against India as the confidence booster — Pakistan’s first win over them in 13 World Cup matches.  After losing the toss, Virat Kohli-led India was asked to bat first on a tricky batting surface by Pakistan captain Babar Azam. To make matters worse, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Rohit Sharma for a golden duck, and soon after, sent back in-form opener KL Rahul to the hut.

Virat Kohli, who scored 57,  helped his team to a total of 151/7 in 20 overs. But in the end, the target of 152 was not enough as Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scored 79*, and 68*, respectively, to win the match for their team by 10 wickets with 13 balls to spare.

“In any tournament when you win the first match, it gives you confidence so when we beat India it lifted our confidence hugely. I have been part of many World Cup matches against India and after all those defeats we had to bear the consequences but we always used to have strong comebacks. This time we won and it was great to be part of that team which beat India.”

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).

Mohammad Hafeez asserts that he is entirely focused on the World Cup.

“I am focusing on this World Cup so after this tournament I will decide what to do,” he said.

“I am a very emotional sort of player and playing for Pakistan is a great pride for me.”

Despite his age, Mohammad Hafeez has kept his Pakistan career on track owing to his consistent performances in the middle order. Overall, he has played 117 T20Is, scoring 2482 runs at a strike rate of about 121 besides picking 61 scalps averaging 22.16.

Shoaib Malik. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Shoaib Malik. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
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Big Win Against India Gave Us Momentum In 2021 T20I World Cup, Says Shoaib Malik

On Monday, Shoaib Malik, veteran Pakistan batsman, said the big win over arch-rivals India gave his side the momentum to do well in the ongoing T20 World Cup as they are on the verge of qualifying for the semifinals.

Following a historic 10-wicket win over India in their opening match on October 24, Pakistan beat New Zealand and Afghanistan to continue their unbeaten run. A win against minnows Namibia here on Tuesday will confirm Pakistan’s semifinal spot in the T20 showpiece.
Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik- Twitter

Shoaib Malik Says The Biggest Thing For Him Is To See Consistency In Pakistan Dressing Room As They Got Momentum After Winning Against India

Pakistan media manager refused to entertain any questions for Shoaib Malik on the Indian cricket team, in fact, going on to block a couple of reporters’ questions as well. However, veteran Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik said that winning a big game like the one against India has given a massive confidence boost to the side.

“To be honest, of course when you start your tournament and you start your tournament against a big team and then you win that game, then everything comes in your dressing room,” Malik said at the pre-match press conference.

“And I guess momentum and everything has come to us when we played that game. Obviously, when you start the tournament, the goal is to give your best shot as a team.”

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP via Getty Images)

Shoaib Malik, who has played 119 T20I matches since making his debut in 2006, said since he joined the team, the way the Pakistan players have been dealing with pressure has been exceptional.

“To see consistency in Pakistan dressing room, that’s the biggest thing for me so far, and everyone’s helping each other. And it’s a team game,” Malik said, according to the ICC.

“When you’re playing a team game, then you need your teammates’ help, you need a lot of support from your management. And I see all of that coming,” said the 39-year-old right-handed batter.

The veteran Pakistan all-rounder praised Babar Azam’s captaincy, saying that he had matured as a skipper.

Shoaib Malik: In T20I Format, One Can’t Take Opposition Lightly

He said the team’s confidence level is quite high, and the players are looking forward to doing well in the rest of the event.

Asked about Tuesday’s match against Namibia, he said, “To be honest, we are not thinking any different because T20 format is where you can’t take the opposition lightly. We are fully confident and in fact leaving soon for our practice session. So looking forward for the game.”

Shoaib Malik agreed that bio-bubble life is difficult, but it’s a bit better for the players if their families are around.

“Well, to be honest, bubble life, it’s a tough thing, especially when you’re like playing a lot of back-to-back series. But the good thing is that our families are with us. We’ve been spending a lot of time together as families, as teammates. So it’s a good thing.”

“But when your goal is to achieve something in life, then you have to go through hard yards, and we have that in our mind. And we are only focused for this particular tournament. And some have started enjoying the bubble life as well.”

Pakistan has beaten all three toughest sides in group B. In their opening match against India. They stunned everyone to earn a 10-wicket win. They carried on their winning run against New Zealand as well after beating them by 5 wickets. In their last game against Afghanistan, they exhibited another all-around performance to earn their third consecutive win of the tournament.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf have been brilliant as far as the pace department is concerned. Besides, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim have been quite accurate with their lengths and gave the batsmen very little to work with. However, Hasan Ali’s poor run in the tournament is a matter of concern.

Pakistan could have lost their last two games had Asif Ali not played match-winning cameos in the end. Pakistan would be wanting both Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to take some responsibility on their shoulders and hopefully get back to form before playing the semi-finals.

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