The men in green are flowing with confidence after their demolition of Aaron Finch’s Australia as they now take on their Trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand in a three-match series.
“It is an important series after getting the Australians out of the way. Our focus is now on New Zealand and they are also a tough side and performed well in the T20 format. Our aim will be to carry the momentum which is on our side. Always the first match of the series is important. We will try to set the tone straightaway so that we can have a good series ahead,” the Pakistan skipper said.
The wicket-keeper batsman expects the Kane Williamson-led Blackcaps to give Pakistan a tough examination in the series.
“The Australian team was more strong as they had players who can change the game with one innings. New Zealand also have some good players in (Colin) Munro, Williamson, fast bowler Adam Milne, Lockie Ferguson and then there is Tim Southee, so they are also a strong side. We will try to make sure they keep playing good cricket,” he said when asked to compare the two sides.
The 3-0 clean sweep of Australia was the 10th bilateral T20 series in row Pakistan have now won under the captaincy of Sarfraz. Since September 2016, Sarfraz’s men have won a staggering 26 of their 30 completed matches in the format with the skipper enjoying a success-rate of greater than 86 per cent.
Sarfraz has attributed this phenomenal run to the young blood in the squad and their rising fielding standards.
“The important fact behind our success is that we have new boys in the squad. So we are a young and energetic side. The main difference also is our fielding. Our fielding in the shorter format has improving impressively,” he explained.
“Whenever our team has required a good catch or a run out, we have managed to get that. I think our fielding has been extraordinary in the shorter format when you compare with other teams. We have seen that in the series against Australia. Shoaib (Malik) took three exceptional catches and other boys also did the same. The main difference is the fitness and fielding which is better than other teams,” he continued.
The Pakistan skipper revealed that he would field the same playing XI that featured in the final T20 clash against Australia for Monday’s game with opening batsman Fakhar Zaman once again missing out due to a knee injury.
“Fakhar Zaman is still not fit, he has a knee problem and difficulty with sideways movement. Hopefully he will be fit for the next matches,” said Sarfraz.
The 31-year-old also took the opportunity to congratulate veteran Shoaib Malik after the all-rounder announced the birth of his first child on Wednesday.
“Congrats to Shoaib and his family for the birth of his son. Shoaib will be here tomorrow morning and will be available for the session and the match as well,” he stated.
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