Pakistan defeated Australia in the final of the T20I tri-series, which also saw hosts Zimbabwe compete, on Sunday by six wickets, thanks to Fakhar Zaman‘s 91-run knock.
They are now at the top of ICC’s T20I rankings with 132 points, having won nine successive T20I series, and the former all-rounder feels the team is doing really well.
“I think it’s still a long way to go and I think the way our boys are playing is very good. All the youngsters, they’re doing a great job and Inshallah we’re hoping they’re going to do well for Pakistan.”
Asked if he would like to have a go when that tournament begins, Afridi had a clear answer.
“No, not at all. I’m done, I enjoyed my cricket for Pakistan, I’m playing just my league cricket and I’m enjoying myself.”
Some players thrive on the biggest stage. The greater the challenge, they better they perform. And since you don’t find those characteristics in your average cricketers, big-match performers remain etched in memory for a long time.
Australia’s wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist is one of the biggest ‘big-match’ players in history. The Aussies won the 1999, 2003 and the 2007 World Cups. Gilchrist’s contribution in those three wins was 54 from 36 balls, 57 from 48 balls and 149 from 104 balls, respectively. Basically, a champion of finals.
Doing it once is good. Doing it consistently takes a lot of effort and also shows the mentality of the player. And it’s safe to say Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman is made of the same material that made Gilchirst what he was.
500! Fakhar Zaman completes 500 T20i runs in 2018. He’s first Pakistani and only third player after India’s Virat Kohli and Afghanistan’s M Shahzad to score 500+ runs in a calendar year. #Pakistan #Cricket #PAKvAUS— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) July 8, 2018
The left-handed batsman burst onto the scene during the Champions Trophy in England last year and smashed two fifties to help his team qualify for the final where he cracked a century against India in the final to end the contest within the first 35 overs itself.
And just to prove that glorious Champions Trophy was not a fluke – if anyone still had a doubt – Zaman came up with an equally fine innings under pressure as he made 91 from 46 balls to help chase down 184 in the T20 tri-series final against Australia.
Pakistan had lost two wickets in the first over of the chase but Zaman hit back with even more power, smashing 12 fours and three sixes.
The left-handed batsman doesn’t have a conventional stance and predominantly plays on the leg side. But what he has in abundance is a strong mind and ability to soak in the pressure.
Pakistan have a brilliant bowling attack, are led by a good captain in Sarfraz Ahmed and have some very promising batsmen. Zaman adds an altogether different dimension to the team. Something that no system in the world can inculcate – big-match mentality.
The Australian team found itself in the middle of another controversy following the T20 tri-series final against Pakistan in Harare on Sunday.
Pakistan romped to a six-wicket win over Australia with opener Fakhar Zaman hitting 91 as the men in green chased down 184.
It was a fine effort from Pakistan in the chase after they lost two wickets in the first over bowled by Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
However, Zaman and veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik (43) saw the world No1 team past the finish line.
After the match got over, there was a moment of controversy.
As Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed went in to shake hands with the Aussie players, Maxwell was captured on camera failing to meet the Pakistan skipper’s extended hand.
There was no suggestion that it was a deliberate action but many on social media took exception to it.
See the link below and make your own judgment.