Shaheen Shah Afridi | Sportzwiki

Shaheen Shah Afridi

India National Cricket Team.
India National Cricket Team. Image Credits: BCCI
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Inzamam-ul-Haq Hints That Problems Between BCCI, Ravi Shastri And Virat Kohli Led To India’s Early Exit From T20I World Cup

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, feels that the relations between Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri may have turned frosty ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021, which resulted in India’s early exit from the ICC tournament.

The legendary former Pakistan batter reckons the announcement of Virat Kohli stepping down as India’s T20 captain after the World Cup was something the BCCI and the team could have done without.

Inzamam-ul-Haq addresses a press conference in Lahore. — AP/File
Inzamam-ul-Haq addresses a press conference in Lahore. — AP/File

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Virat Kohli’s Statement Of Leaving Captaincy After T20I WC Not Good And All Knew Ravi Shastri Was To Be Replaced By Rahul Dravid

Inzamam-ul-Haq has made a bold statement about the Indian cricket team and their performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021, which saw the Men in Blue lose to their arch-rivals for the first time ever in World Cups. The former Pakistan captain commented about India’s performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021.

“I said this even before the match, that this statement of leaving captaincy after the tournament… it is not good. You have to play a big event and this shows that there is pressure on you and you are not comfortable. They all knew that after this tournament, Shastri was to get replaced by Dravid,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

India's Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo
India’s Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo

Inzamam-ul-Haq weighed in further on the matter, pointing out that the news of Ravi Shastri’s impending departure and Virat Kohli stepping down as the team’s T20I captain indicated that not all was right within the Indian camp, including relations between the captain-coach duo and the BCCI.

“This should not happen before a big event. Your authority gets challenged. And this means that relations between Kohli, Shastri, and the board were not great. If India were to win the T20 World Cup, would they have removed the captain and coach? There was some problem between them,” said the former Pakistan batter Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Pakistan hammered India by 10 wickets as the opening pair of Babar Azam, and Mohammad Rizwan chased down 152 to break the team’s almost three-decade-long jinx in World Cups.

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Pakistan Always Have A Good Pace Attack And Every Team Is A Little Apprehensive Facing Pakistan

Inzamam-ul-Haq spoke about Shaheen Shah Afridi’s destructive spell against India, which saw him return 3/31, including the wickets of openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma and later captain Virat Kohli. Lauding Pakistan’s pace battery comprising of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, and Haris Rauf in T20I WC 2021, Inzamam-ul-Haq said the country’s pacers are of the quality that they can dismantle any batting unit in the world.

“Our fast bowlers always stamp their authority on India. We have always had a good pace battery. Every team is a little apprehensive about facing Pakistan’s bowling,” said Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Virat Kohli played a 57-run knock while Shaheen Afridi celebrating one of his three wickets | Photo: ICC
Virat Kohli played a 57-run knock while Shaheen Afridi celebrated one of his three wickets | Photo: ICC

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 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 the next match, India managed only 110 for seven batting first against New Zealand. They lost the game by eight wickets, which pretty much sealed their fate in the T20 World Cup 2021.

Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
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Inzamam-ul-Haq Feels Indian Team Was Scared Even Before The India-Pakistan 2021 T20I World Cup Match Started

Inzamam-Ul-Haq has made a bold statement about the Indian cricket team and their performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021, which saw the Men in Blue lose to their arch-rivals for the first time ever in World Cups. The former Pakistan captain commented about India’s performance against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup 2021.

Pakistan hammered India by 10 wickets as the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down 152 to break the team’s almost three-decade-long jinx in World Cups.

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq Feels Indian Team Was Scared Even Before The Match Started

Plenty has been said and written about India’s indifferent outing at the Dubai international stadium, with Inzamam-ul-Haq claiming that Virat Kohli’s unit was scared to fight even before the World Cup match even began.

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 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.

“I feel the Indians were scared even before the match started. Their body language, if you see Virat Kohli and Babar Azam’s interview at the toss, you could sense who was under pressure. Our team’s body language was much better than theirs. It wasn’t that India were under pressure after Rohit Sharma’s dismissal. Sharma himself was under pressure. It was evident that they all were under pressure,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

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).

India had an off-colour T20 World Cup, getting eliminated before making it to the semi-finals, making it the first time in eight years, and events that the team failed to make it to the knockouts of an ICC event. Following defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand, India was always under the pump and even though they did manage to beat Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia in their last three games, it was not enough to see them through to the final four.

Inzamam-ul-Haq Feels India Was Surmounted On A Lot Of Pressure After Losing To Pakistan So That They Lost To New Zealand Too

Inzamam-ul-Haq feels the pressure coped by the Indian team after the Pakistan defeat was so much that the team failed to recover from the beating, in turn affecting their T20 World Cup campaign.

“Indian team never plays the way they did. They are a good T20 team, there is no doubt about it. If you look at their performance in the last 2-3 years, they were the favourites. But that India-Pakistan match put so much pressure on them that there was no looking back,” added Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli failed against New Zealand (Reuters Photo)
Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli failed against New Zealand (Reuters Photo)

“Their feet weren’t moving at all. After losing to Pakistan, they were handed so much criticism and there was a 3-4 day break. The poor guys couldn’t even play Santner and Sodhi. They are such good players of spin. That pressure mounted on them,” added Inzamam-ul-Haq.

India managed only 110 for 7 batting first against New Zealand. They lost the game by eight wickets, which pretty much sealed their fate in the T20 World Cup 2021. The make-shift opening pair of KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan managed to add only 11 runs, with Ishan Kishan scoring four off eight balls. New Zealand chased down the score in just 14.3 overs, handing India a massive defeat.

The Indian batsmen Ishan Kishan (4 off 8 balls), Rohit Sharma (14 off 14 balls), KL Rahul (18 off 16), Virat Kohli (9 off 17), Rishabh Pant (12 off 19) failed when it mattered most against New Zealand, losing the second successive match after the one against Pakistan where Rohit Sharma (0) and KL Rahul (3) failed as openers.

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
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Inzamam-ul-Haq Slams Bangladesh For Its Unsuccessful Overseas Record

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistani skipper, has come down hard on the Bangladesh cricket team over their unsuccessful results away from home.

The 51-year old has opined that Bangladesh’s away performances are still similar to what they used to be 15 years ago. Inzamam-ul-Haq feels Bangladesh has harmed its own chances of competing abroad by making slow pitches in its own turf in Bangladesh.

Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq: Bangladesh’s Away Performances Are Like 15 Years Back

Following Pakistan’s win against Bangladesh in the first T20I, he posted a video on his official YouTube channel, ‘Inzamam-ul-Haq The Match Winner’.  In his video, Inzamam-ul-Haq slammed Bangladesh and lamented that they haven’t learned much from their poor T20 World Cup 2021 campaign. He feels that apart from winning an odd ODI away from home, the Bangladeshi team has not done well on foreign turf.

“I thought Bangladesh would’ve learnt something from their poor World Cup performances. That maybe they will make better pitches or play better cricket. They’ve been playing cricket for the last 15-20 years and their away performances are just like it used to be 15 years back. It’s like winning an odd ODI once in a blue moon and nothing else,” said Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Bangladesh shocked the cricketing world by defeating Australia 4-1 and New Zealand 3-2 prior to the 2021 T20I World Cup, but it came on their own turf, but overseas, they have only beaten minnows Zimbabwe, Ireland, and inconsistent West Indies in the T20I bilateral series.

Bangladesh (AFP Photo)
Bangladesh (AFP Photo)

The Tigers were one of the poorest teams during the recent T20 World Cup in the UAE, losing all their matches in the Super 12s. Low bounce and sluggish surfaces have become synonymous with Bangladeshi pitches. Teams like Australia and New Zealand have found it extremely difficult to survive on these kinds of surfaces.

Inzamam-ul-Haq: As Soon As Bangladesh Plays Outside They Seem Desolated

In his review, the former Pakistani cricketer pointed out that they seem’ desolated’ whenever Bangladesh plays outside their country. He added that by making ‘pathetic pitches’, they are preventing the development of their own cricketers.

Inzamam-ul-Haq said: “It was a typical match (1st T20I between Bangladesh and Pakistan) in Bangladeshi conditions. We’ve seen this over the years. Teams like Australia and other found it extremely difficult to win in Bangladesh. But as soon as Bangladesh plays outside of their country, they seem desolated.”

“They were nowhere to be seen in the recent World Cup. And this is because they make absolutely pathetic pitches in their country. They don’t even give their players a chance to groom and feel satisfied just by winning matches in Bangladesh. I’m extremely disappointed to see this,” Inzamam concluded.

After winning the first T20I by four wickets, Pakistan will look to clinch the series when the two teams meet in Dhaka for the second T20I later today (November 20).

Bangladesh will have a lot to ponder about after the loss in the first game but do not have too much time as they face Pakistan less than 24 hours after the first game. With several new faces in the squad after the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Bangladesh put up a tremendous fight but will be ruing the missed opportunity, having had Pakistan’s backs against the walls at 24/4 chasing 128.

Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali. Pic: Getty Images
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali. Pic: Getty Images

Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan, and Mahedi Hasan were the only three batters to reach double figures, with the latter two providing some late impetus to put a target of 128 for Pakistan to chase down. Hasan Ali put the disappointing World Cup semi-final showing behind him and returned with figures of 3/22 in four overs.

Like Bangladesh, Pakistan too faltered early, losing four wickets in the fielding restrictions. However, Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah, who scored 34 each, strung together a game-changing 56-run partnership before Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz put on a show for the crowd in Dhaka with an unbeaten 36-run stand in just 15 balls to take Pakistan home and give them a 1-0 series lead.

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad once again chose to bat first after winning the toss against Pakistan, in the second T20I in Dhaka. The home side didn’t make any changes, while Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi replaced Hasan Ali.

Matthew Wade revealed he tore his side prior to the T20 World Cup final Getty Images
Matthew Wade revealed he tore his side prior to the T20 World Cup final Getty Images
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Matthew Wade Played T20 World Cup Final Despite Picking Grade 2 Side Strain

Matthew Wade played a remarkable inning in the T20 World Cup 2021 semi-finals that will be remembered for ages. Batting at No. 7, the Australia wicketkeeper-batsman smoked three back-to-back sixes that knocked out knocked Pakistan out of the tournament.

He returned unbeaten on 41 off just 17 deliveries as the Aussies were through to the finals with a five-wicket win. However, days after Australia’s first-ever T20I World Cup triumph, Matthew Wade disclosed that he played the high-octane final against runners-up New Zealand on November 14 with a grade 2 side strain.

Matthew Wade
Matthew Wade (PA AAP)

Matthew Wade Picked Up Grade 2 Side Strain At Training A Dey Before Final Of 2021 T20I World Cup

As reported, the 33-year-old picked up the injury at training a day before the final face-off in Dubai. He was taken for the scans, which revealed a grade two strain. Matthew Wade said that he was worried about getting ruled out that would have meant an international debut for Josh Inglis.

“I was a little bit worried the night before the game, for sure,” Wade said.

“If I had woken up and I couldn’t swing the bat, I wouldn’t have played. I was worried that if we’d batted first and I had to go as hard as I could, and I tore it then, I wouldn’t be able to keep, and that would hurt the team a lot.”
Glenn Maxwell | Source: Twitter
Glenn Maxwell | Source: Twitter

“But in my mind, they would have had to strap me to the bed. I was always going to go out there and play. But I wouldn’t have played if there was a chance it was going to hurt the team. I went and hit some balls before the game and bluffed my way through that. Then they made me hit a few more, but I got through it and it felt pretty fine,” he added.

The report further quoted all-rounder Glenn Maxwell explaining how Matthew Wade tried to hide his injury during the training session.

“The way he was gingerly hitting underarms (in the warm-ups) … I said ‘what’s going on here? Hit the ball harder!’,” Maxwell said. “And he said, ‘I’ve got a side strain’. I didn’t even know.”

Matthew Wade (41 not out off 17) and Marcus Stoinis (40 off 31) shared an unbeaten 81-run stand for the sixth wicket to pull off a five-wicket win over Pakistan in the 2nd semi-final.

After his semi-final heroics, Matthew Wade, who turns 34 in December, said that he thought he might be playing his last international match for Australia. But he confirmed on Thursday that he would love to play in Australia’s title defence at home next year to finish off his international career.

Matthew Wade Will Focus On 2022 T20I World Cup After Missing Ashes Due To The Injury

Matthew Wade now has lost his spot in the upcoming Ashes Down Under owing to the injury and will focus on the next year’s T20 World Cup that will be held in Australia. As a result, Wicket-keeper-batsman Matthew Wade, whose heroic innings saw Australia win the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021, and the man of the match of the final, Mitchell Marsh, have not been included in the team for the Ashes 2021/22.

“That’ll be my next motivation – hopefully get to that World Cup, defend the title and then I can sail off into the sunset. I certainly won’t be playing (international cricket) beyond that point. That would be my goal from here,” Wade said.

Australia's Matthew Wade and Australia's Marcus Stoinis celebrate after the match. Credit: Reuters Photo
Australia’s Matthew Wade and Australia’s Marcus Stoinis celebrate after the match. Credit: Reuters Photo

After the dropped catch by Hasan Ali in the penultimate over, Keeper Matthew Wade subsequently smacked Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi for three consecutive sixes as Australia won with an over to spare. Marcus Stoinis (40*) and Matthew Wade (41*) took Australia over the line in a pulsating finish in Dubai against Pakistan.

Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
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Kevin Pietersen Picked His Best 11 After 2021 T20I World Cup Concludes; David Warner Left Out

Kevin Pietersen, the former England superstar, has also picked his Best XI on the completion of the T20I World Cup in a blog after Australia won their maiden title. Interestingly, Kevin Pietersen has picked a spinner (Wanindu Hasaranga) and a batsman (Charith Asalanka) from Sri Lanka. Both have shown enormous promise.

Pietermaritzburg (Natal)-born Kevin Pietersen has chosen South Africans batsman Aiden Markram and pacer Anrich Nortje in his XI. Anrich Nortje has emerged as a top T20I bowler and should be a hot property in the big IPL 2022 auctions early next year.

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

Kevin Pietersen Picked 2021 T20I World Cup Top Scorer Babar Azam In His XI

Another ICC event has ended, and every cricket lover is busy picking his best XI of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. In a format where the margin of error is virtually negligible, it is extremely difficult to shortlist the best 11 players. The T20I  World Cup 2021 in UAE has been a tournament of comebacks.

If Player of the Tournament opener David Warner and Mitchell Marsh turned up for Australia at a time when critics had written them off after defeats against West Indies and even Bangladesh prior to WC, debutants Namibia caught the eye with some spirited performances.

At the same time, Pakistan rose from the ashes, and India’s pride as a T20I monster was buried. A World Cup tests the skills, temperament, and application of every cricketer. India was a classic example of how reputation can go for a toss if a team has two bad days in office.

After losing for the first time in a World Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan and then being humbled by New Zealand, India was always playing catch-up in their group and eventually did not qualify for the knockouts. As a result, Virat Kohli, who was captaining India for the last time in T20Is, had to leave UAE a disappointed man.

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

Pakistan and Australia were never the bookmaker’s favourites. Australia had never won the T20 World Cup, and Aaron Finch’s team arrived in the Emirates, sans the aura of formidability usually associated with an Australian cricket team. A defeat against India in a warm-up match did no good to their morale.

A loss against England in a group match further exposed their vulnerability. But then the Aussies made a stunning turnaround, improved every match largely due to their top-order batting where David Warner and Mitchell Marsh were simply outstanding.

Even when the ICC named their dream 11 at the end of the T20 World Cup, there was not a single Indian player. There were no Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah – the world’s leading players in the game’s shortest format. And even more surprising, there was no Mitchell Marsh, who anchored Australia to their maiden T20 World Cup title.

Invariably, the ICC had a jury comprising former cricketers, journalists, and even match officials who racked their brains to arrive at a list agreeable to all. ICC produced a team with Pakistan’s Babar Azam as captain. No one questioned Babar Azam’s selection. He led Pakistan from the front in every game till Mathew Wade played an unbelievable inning to end the fairy-tale run by the Green Shirts.

While Babar Azam scored 303 runs in 6 innings, David Warner managed 289 runs in 7 innings, followed by Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (281 runs) and Jos Buttler (269 runs).

Kevin Pietersen Didn’t Pick Player Of The Tournament David Warner In His XI.

Interestingly, there is no David Warner, no Mitchell Marsh, Kane Williamson, or Daryl Mitchell in Kevin Pietersen’s Best XI. Kevin Pietersen has gone with four specialist batsmen, three all-rounders, and four specialist bowlers, two of whom are leg-spinners.

Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
Australia’s David Warner (Associated Press)

Kevin Pietersen’s Best XI

Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan, 281 runs): Consistent run-scorer at the top of Pakistan’s line-up, who did brilliantly to battle back from illness and scored 67 against Australia in the semi-final.

Jos Buttler (England, 269 runs): Magnificent century against Sri Lanka was the highlight of a superb tournament for England’s opener.

Babar Azam (Pakistan, 303 runs): Proved once more that he is among the most consistent and best T20 batters in the world.

Charith Asalanka (Sri Lanka, 231 runs): One of several exciting young Sri Lankan players who we can look forward to watching again at next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Aiden Markram (South Africa, 162 runs): A solid presence in South Africa’s middle-order and bowled some useful overs with the new ball.

Moeen Ali (England, 92 runs): A very versatile and important member of England’s side, who impressed with bat and ball.

Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka, 119 runs, 16 wickets): The tournament’s leading wicket-taker with his devilish leg-spin, and showed his potential with the bat, too.

Adam Zampa (Australia, 13 wickets): Wicket-taking ability in the middle overs was one of the key reasons why Australia won the tournament.

Trent Boult (New Zealand, 13 wickets): Once again proved his worth to New Zealand with a string of timely and important wickets.

Anrich Nortje (South Africa, 9 wickets): Becoming a leader in South Africa’s attack after taking more wickets in the tournament than all but five bowlers.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan, 7 wickets): A sensational new-ball spell against India set Pakistan’s tournament tone.

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Harbhajan Singh Named 3 Pakistan And 2 Indian Cricketers In His T20I World Cup XI

Harbhajan Singh has named three Pakistan players in his T20 World Cup team of the tournament. Harbhajan Singh picked three players from Pakistan, two each from India and New Zealand, and one each from Australia, England, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

Harbhajan Singh, who played 103 Tests, 236 One-Day Internationals, and a further 28 T20 Internationals for India, opted to pick two members of the Indian side, who disappointingly failed to make it out of the Super 12 stages of the tournament held in the UAE.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh Chose David Warner And Mohammad Rizwan As Openers

The 41-year-old spinner chose Australian batsman and the ICC player of the tournament David Warner to open the batting after the charismatic New South Welshman amassed an impressive 289 runs, including a blistering 53 off 38 balls in the final to help the Aussies successfully chase down 172 against New Zealand. David Warner finished the tournament as the second-leading run-scorer behind Babar Azam, who failed to find a place in Harbhajan Singh’s XI.

Opening the batting alongside David Warner is Pakistan wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan, who scored 281 runs at the top of the order while also playing a key role for his side behind the stumps. Mohammad Rizwan’s tournament may be best remembered for his fantastic 67 runs against Australia in the semi-final, despite being in hospital with a chest infection just hours before the match was due to begin.

Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
Australia’s David Warner (Associated Press)

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made it into Harbhajan Singh’s team of the tournament after he lead the Black Caps to another ICC final, where he hit 85 off 48 balls, only to be beaten yet again. England superstar Jos Buttler, who scored the only hundred of the tournament against Sri Lanka in Sharjah, is picked at four following his fine campaign with both bat and gloves.

While Babar Azam scored 303 runs in 6 innings, David Warner managed 289 runs in 7 innings, followed by Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (281 runs) and Jos Buttler (269 runs).

Harbhajan Singh Picks Ravindra Jadeja And Jasprit Bumrah

The middle-order comprised of South Africa batsman and part-time off-spinner Aiden Makram, Sri Lanka’s leg-spinning all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and Pakistan’s hard-hitting finisher Asif Ali, while India slow-left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja also made the team, surprisingly.

Young Pakistan seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who wowed everyone with his pace and new-ball swing, was slotted in at nine, with fellow left-arm pacer Trent Boult, who is dangerous both at the start of the innings and at the death, being picked at 10.

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

India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah sneaked into the team at 11, despite having an uncharacteristically poor tournament, and Afghanistan mystery spinner Rashid Khan was selected as Harbhajan Singh’s 12th man. However, there was surprisingly no place in the team for the tournament’s leading run-scorer, Babar Azam, nor was there a spot for the Super 12’s leading wicket-taker, Adam Zampa.

Aiden Markram managed 162 runs in 5 innings while Wanindu Hasaranga managed 119 runs, besides picking the most 16 scalps. Both Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja picked 7 wickets each. Shaheen Shah Afridi also picked 7 scalps while Rashid Khan picked 8 scalps. Trent Boult was the joint 2nd highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps besides his name.

Harbhajan Singh’s T20 World Cup Team Of The Tournament

David Warner (Australia), Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Jos Buttler (England), Aiden Makram (South Africa), Wahindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka), Asif Ali (Pakistan), Ravindra Jadeja (India), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan), Trent Boult (New Zealand), Jasprit Bumrah (India), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan-twelfth man)

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Gautam Gambhir Reflects Upon Australia And New Zealand Rivalry

Gautam Gambhir reflects upon the rivalry in the Oceania continent as the T20I World cup 2021 tournament culminates with the Trans-Tasman neighbours Australia and New Zealand vying for the trophy in the final on Sunday night. He reflects on where does this rivalry stand compared to sub-continent Asian giants India and Pakistan.

Australia doesn’t have a reason to change their XI with Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, and Marcus Stoinis providing them with a fifth bowler and Matthew Wade at No. 7, making it a reasonably deep batting line-up.

New Zealand will have to make at least one change after Devon Conway broke his hand when striking his bat in frustration at his dismissal. They are unlikely to change the balance of the side, though, with five full-time bowlers and James Neesham at No. 6. Tim Seifert is the likely replacement for Conway.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir: New Zealand – Australia Rivalry Isn’t As Fierce As The One Between India-Pakistan

New Zealand and Australia will face each other in the much-awaited finale of the 2021 T20 World Cup in a bid to grab their first world title in this format in international cricket. Out of the 14 matches contested between the two sides, nine have been won by the Aaron Finch-led side, while New Zealand has been on the winning side only four times. One match ended in a tie.

“It is difficult to notice the cricketing rivalry between Australia and New Zealand. Like India and Pakistan, they are neighbours too. Like Indians and Pakistanis, Aussies and Kiwis hate losing to each other. While Wikipedia has a page on ‘India Pakistan Cricket Rivalry’, it is more widespread for Aussies and Kiwis,” Gautam Gambhir wrote in his column.

Encouraged by their cricket, rugby union, rugby league, and netball contests, their Wikipedia address is ‘Australia-New Zealand Sports Rivalries’.

“By no means is the rivalry as fierce as the one between India and Pakistan. Have you wondered why? Are they not cynical enough to create lop-sided advertising campaigns to sell their products riding on what is essentially a cricket match? Or is it economics of the major stakeholders? I have a few thoughts which may not be in the order of relevance but largely my chain of theories.”

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)

India met Pakistan in their opening match of the T20 World Cup in the UAE. The Babar Azam-led Pakistan put up an inspiring show to hammer Virat Kohli’s India by 10 wickets.

“History of India and Pakistan seems to be at the base of the sporting rivalry. Since 1947 we have fought four times and have had numerous skirmishes on the border. This has seeped into sports too, cricket being the frontrunner,” said Gautam Gambhir.

“I sometimes feel that India-Pakistan rivalry has become an industry in itself, which keeps many other verticals warm. No one seems to be in a hurry to reduce the jingoism volume on this one as it generates revenue,” he added.

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 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.

Gautam Gambhir Backs New Zealand To Win 2021 T20I World Cup

Gautam Gambhir went on to point out the sheer numbers in terms of population that fuel the Indo-Pak cricket rivalry even further and incomparable to any other.

“The combined population of Australia and New Zealand is around three crores while here we are catering to 22 crore in Pakistan and approximately 140 crore at home. The database is chalk and cheese. Even if 10 percent of population of India and Pakistan are engaged, we are talking to five times more the combined number of Australia and New Zealand,” Gautam Gambhir wrote.

“Then there is a small matter of emotions from Indians and Pakistanis. I am not suggesting that Aussie and Kiwis are heartless but we can’t say, “bad luck” or “well played” and share a post-match drink,” the T20 and ODI World Cup winner said.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

“It is not only Virat Kohli but most of India wears their heart on their sleeve. Let’s accept it that we are poor losers and that is what that marketing guy exploits when he sucks us into high-pitched, biased promotional campaigns.

“My friends living in Australia tell me that life has been normal for them. Their major worry is how to stay awake as the final begins around midnight their time,” said Gautam Gambhir.

Coming to the T20 World Cup final on Sunday night, Gautam Gambhir went on to back New Zealand.

“I want New Zealand to win as I like their brand of cricket,” said Gautam Gambhir.

Skipper Kane Williamson will aim to reduce that gap and win his second title of the season, having won the World Test Championship (WTC) after beating India in the final earlier this year. Australia has been the more dominant side in recent history, having won all the last four clashes.

The last time New Zealand won a T20I against Australia was in Dharamsala in the 2016 edition of the T20 World Cup staged in India.

Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali | AFP
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali | AFP
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Hasan Ali Issues Apology To Pakistan Fans After Dropping Catch And Returning With Figures Of 0/44 In 4 Overs Against Australia

Hasan Ali has apologized to fans after Pakistan’s heartbreaking loss in the semi-final of the ongoing ICC T20I World Cup against Australia. Pacer Hasan Ali was trolled by fans for dropping a crucial catch of Matthew Wade in the T20 World Cup semifinal between Pakistan and Australia.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam had backed pacer Hasan Ali to deliver the goods for the Green Army at the T20 World Cup. However, the struggling pacer failed to repay the team’s faith in the second semi-final of the showpiece event against Aaron Finch’s Australia on Thursday. Hasan Ali’s costly mistake had paved the way for Matthew Wade to punish Pakistan as the Finch-led Australian side secure their berth in the T20 World Cup final.

Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali. Pic: Getty Images
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali. Pic: Getty Images

Hasan Ali Apologized To Fans After Pakistan’s Heartbreaking Loss In Semi-Final

In the aftermath of Pakistan’s heart-breaking defeat to Australia, Hasan Ali was subjected to online abuse as the out-of-form speedster faced the wrath of Pakistani fans on social media. In what turned out to be the final over of the match, Hasan Ali dropped an easy catch of Australia batter Matthew Wade, who then smoked three sixes in three balls to win the match for his team.

On Saturday, the speed merchant of the Babar Azam-led side issued an apology to Pakistani fans after the national team’s exit from the 2021 edition of the ICC T20 World Cup.  Taking to Twitter, the pacer shared a lengthy note and vowed to serve the Pakistan cricket team at the highest level.

“I know you all are upset because my performance didn’t meet your expectations … but [you] are not more disappointed than me. Don’t change your expectations from me. I want to serve [the] Pakistan cricket at the highest level possible, so back to hard work. This patch will make stronger,” Ali wrote in his post on the microblogging site. 

Hasan Ali’s latest tweet has come after several members of the cricket fraternity extended their support to the Pakistani cricketer following Pakistan’s T20 World Cup exit in the hands of Australia. Keeper Matthew Wade after the dropped catch subsequently smacked Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi for three sixes as Australia won with an over to spare. Marcus Stoinis (40*) and Matthew Wade (41*) took Australia over the line in a pulsating finish in Dubai against Pakistan.

Hasan Ali Went Wicket Less And Leaked 44 Runs Besides Dropping The Crucial Catch Of Matthew Wade

From legendary Indian opener, Virender Sehwag to former Pakistani skipper Wasim Akram, a host of cricketing stalwarts had comforted Hasan Ali and called out trolls for solely blaming the pacer for Pakistan’s five-wicket defeat at Dubai.

Hasan Ali Dropped Catch (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Hasan Ali Dropped Catch (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Hasan Ali, who scripted Pakistan’s memorable win over Team India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, had a forgetful show with the ball against Australia on Thursday. The Pakistani pacer went wicket-less and leaked 44 runs from the four overs he bowled in the high-scoring thriller against Australia. He also dropped the crucial catch of an on-song Matthew Wade in the 19th and penultimate over which propelled Australia to a thrilling win over Pakistan.

Hasan Ali, who had a poor World Cup, was expensive in the knockout clash as well. He went for 44 in his four overs and did not claim a wicket. More significantly, he dropped Matthew Wade during a crucial stage in the match. Hasan Ali, 27, has played 15 Tests, 57 ODIs, and 47 T20Is, where he picked 63, 89, and 57 wickets, respectively. In addition, he has picked 5 scalps in T20I WC, averaging a high 41.4 at an economy rate of 9, playing 6 games.

David Warner plays a shot during his innings of 49, which launched Australia on their way to victory. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
David Warner plays a shot during his innings of 49, which launched Australia on their way to victory. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
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Waqar Younis Criticizes Justin Langer’s Praise For David Warner’s Double Bouncer 6

Waqar Younis, former Pakistan pacer and ex-captain has criticized Australia coach Justin Langer’s praise for David Warner’s double-bouncer six which he hit off Mohammad Hafeez in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2021 between Australia and Pakistan.

Bowling the eighth over, the ball slipped out of Mohammed Hafeez’s hands and as it reached David Warner on two bounces, the Australia opener smoked it for six.

Waqar Younis © Reuters
Waqar Younis © Reuters

Waqar Younis: David Warner Had The Right To Hit It But Justin Langer’s Praise Was Ridiculous And Isn’t Right

While David Warner’s decision to hit a six was met with mixed reactions from the cricket fraternity, with the whole ‘spirit of cricket’ coming into question, Waqar Younis feels the batsman was in his right to do whatever he wanted but warned that it should not be promoted as he sets a bad example for youngsters watching the game.

“It’s fine. It was legal. He had the right to hit it and he did. That’s all good. But promoting it is wrong. The way Justin Langer praised it by saying things like ‘Brilliant presence of mind, I’ve never seen anything like this on the cricket pitch’… is ridiculous. That is not right. What are you teaching the little kids? Fine, it is your mindset… you play the way you want to but don’t teach the youngsters,” Waqar said on A Sports.

Australia's David Warner walks off following his dismissal against South Africa at the T20 World Cup (Associated Press)
Australia’s David Warner walks off following his dismissal against South Africa at the T20 World Cup (Associated Press)

David Warner smashed a 30-ball 49 during Australia’s record 177-run chase in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2021 against Pakistan. His knock, along with the efforts of Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade, helped the Kangaroos book a berth in the final of the global event against New Zealand.

Waqar Younis Recalled A Previous Incident In 1999 When Justin Langer Didn’t Walk Back To The Pavillion Despite Nicking A Ball

Recalling a previous incident, Waqar Younis said it was not a surprise seeing Australia coach Justin Langer speak highly of it. During a Test match between Pakistan and Australia in Hobart in 1999, Waqar Younis revealed how Justin Langer did not walk despite edging the ball but instead, a few days later admitted to have nicked it.

“Justin Langer has this history. In a Test match in the 1990s, we played a very famous Test match at Hobart. We were on the brink of winning the Test match but when he nicked the ball, he did not walk. And it was the biggest nick I had ever heard,” Waqar said.

“He admitted 2-3 days later. I had a chat with him at one of the functions and he said ‘oh, there was a click in there. I said ‘don’t give me that rubbish’. He agreed to it. What are you trying to promote?”
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Marcus Stoinis, along with Matthew Wade, put on 81 runs for the 6th wicket in just 6.3 overs to take their side over the line in the memorable semi-finals against Pakistan, who was unbeaten in the group stage. Marcus Stoinis smashed 40 not-out, while Matthew Wade hit 41* off 17 balls. 22 runs were needed in the last 12 balls, and Matthew Wade took Australia home with 6 balls to spare. Shaheen Shah Afridi got hammered for three sixes in a row in the penultimate over.

Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
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Aakash Chopra Calls David Warner The Soul Of Australian Body After The Opener Scores 49 In 2nd Semi Final

Aakash Chopra has called David Warner the soul of Australia’s T20I team. He added that the Aussies lose half their strength when the dashing opener is not at the top of his game. Australia beat Pakistan by five wickets in the 2nd semi-final in Dubai. Marcus Stoinis (40*) & Matthew Wade (41*) took the team over the line in a pulsating finish.

David Warner smashed a 30-ball 49 during Australia’s record 177-run chase in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2021 against Pakistan. His knock, along with the efforts of Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade, helped the Kangaroos book a berth in the final of the global event against New Zealand.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: If David Warner Doesn’t Play, Australia Becomes Half

While reflecting on Australia’s chase in a video shared on his YouTube channel, former opener turned commentator Aakash Chopra put David Warner on a high pedestal.

He elaborated: “If the Australian T20 team is a body, David Warner is its soul. If he doesn’t play, the team becomes half. But when he plays, we say form is temporary, David Warner is permanent and he is class when we talk about this format.”

David Warner plays a shot during his innings of 49 for Australia against Pakistan
David Warner plays a shot during his innings of 49, which launched Australia on their way to victory. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

While lauding David Warner’s knock, the former India cricketer was slightly critical of the six the Aussie opener hit off Mohammad Hafeez’s bowling.

Aakash Chopra observed: “He has been very very good. He played an amazing counter-attacking knock. He was just keeping Australia in the game. There was one moment though which broke my heart. The ball slipped out of Hafeez’s hands, who hits like that, I have never seen anyone do that even in Ranji Trophy but he hit a six.”

David Warner smashed a six into the stands off a Mohammed Hafeez delivery that bounced twice after it slipped out of the Pakistan off-spinner hand.

Aakash Chopra: Hasan Ali Dropped ‘Trophy’ As His Dropped Catch Cost The Match  Which Was In The Balance Till Then

Aakash Chopra pointed out that Shadab Khan had almost sealed the match in Pakistan’s favour with a four-wicket haul.  Shadab Khan managed to dismiss the dangerous David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, and Mitchell Marsh. From his four overs, the “electric leggie” managed to finish with figures of 4/26.

“After that Shadab took four wickets – it was game, set, match and all of that, in which Maxwell, Smith and Warner also got out. What else do you want? But after that Wade was there with Stoinis.”

Hasan Ali Dropped Catch (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Hasan Ali Dropped Catch (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The reputed commentator concluded by stating that a couple of indifferent overs by the Pakistan pacers Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf and Matthew Wade being let off by Hasan Ali cost the Babar Azam-led side a spot in the final.

Aakash Chopra explained: “The game was in the balance there as well because Wade was going at run-a-ball, Stoinis was hitting but Wade was keeping Pakistan in the game. And that is when the Hasan Ali over which also had a no-ball. After that, a Haris Rauf over and then there was a catch dropped by Hasan Ali, the heart was broken, it was not a white-colored ball but probably the trophy. Then three sixes, it was incredible hitting.”

Matthew Wade was dropped by Hasan Ali at deep midwicket on the third ball of the 19th over bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi. The Australian wicketkeeper-batter hit the next three deliveries for sixes to knock Pakistan out of the tournament. Marcus Stoinis, along with Matthew Wade, put on 81 runs for the 6th wicket in just 6.3 overs to take their side over the line.

Marcus Stoinis smashed 40 not-out, while Matthew Wade hit 41* off 17 balls. 22 runs were needed in the last 12 balls, and Matthew Wade took Australia home with 6 balls to spare. Shaheen Shah Afridi got hammered for three sixes in a row in the penultimate over.

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