Pakistan Opt to Bowl First in Second T20I Against New Zealand

Pakistan Opt to Bowl First in Second T20I Against New Zealand

Pakistan, led by captain Babar Azam, opted to field first in the second T20I against New Zealand in Rawalpindi on Saturday. The decision came after Pakistan won the toss, hoping to capitalize on the favorable conditions for bowling.

Pakistan fielded an unchanged lineup from the first T20I, which was abandoned due to rain after only two deliveries. The team’s batting order remains unchanged, with Babar Azam, Saim Ayub, Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Irfan Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, and Abrar Ahmed taking the field.

New Zealand, on the other hand, was forced to make one change to their XI. Right-arm medium-pace bowler Josh Clarkson was ruled out due to illness and was replaced by offspin-bowling allrounder Cole McConchie. McConchie has played nine T20Is for New Zealand, most recently against the United Arab Emirates in August 2023.

Despite his limited batting contributions, McConchie has proven to be a reliable bowler, with seven wickets at an average of 22.71 and an economy rate of 7.17. His inclusion in the team is expected to provide New Zealand with additional bowling options.

Meanwhile, Pakistan suffered a setback with the news that wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan has been ruled out of the entire series. Radiology reports confirmed a grade one tear in his right calf muscle, forcing him to miss the remaining matches.

With the weather forecast predicting clear skies for the second T20I, both teams will be eager to secure a victory and gain an advantage in the three-match series. Pakistan will look to their experienced bowling attack to restrict New Zealand’s batting, while the visitors will aim to put up a competitive total and test Pakistan’s batting lineup.

Pakistan vs New Zealand: Babar Azam Returns as Captain in T20I Series Opener

Pakistan vs New Zealand: Babar Azam Returns as Captain in T20I Series Opener

Pakistan and New Zealand will clash in the first T20I of a five-match series at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday, April 18. The series marks the return of Babar Azam as captain after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) reversed its decision to appoint Shaheen Shah Afridi as skipper.

Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, who recently came out of retirement, will also make their international comebacks in this series. New Zealand, on the other hand, has arrived in Pakistan with an understrength squad due to the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Black Caps are missing nine top players, including skipper Kane Williamson, who are currently playing in the IPL. Stand-in captain Michael Bracewell believes this is an opportunity for younger players to showcase their talent.

Babar Azam Breaks Silence on Pakistan Captaincy Shuffle, Emphasizes Team Unity

Babar Azam Breaks Silence on Pakistan Captaincy Shuffle, Emphasizes Team Unity

Pakistan Cricket: Babar Azam Breaks Silence on Captaincy Shuffle and Team Dynamics

Amidst the recent captaincy shuffle in Pakistan’s cricket team, Babar Azam has addressed the media, shedding light on his relationship with former skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi and the team’s focus ahead of the upcoming T20 series against New Zealand.

Following Pakistan’s 1-4 defeat to New Zealand, Babar Azam was reinstated as captain, replacing Afridi. Reports emerged suggesting Afridi’s discontent with the abrupt leadership transition, compounded by enigmatic social media statements.

However, Babar Azam has emphasized the enduring bond between him and Afridi, asserting their mutual support for each other. “Shaheen and my bond is not recent, it goes back a long way. We support each other in every situation,” Babar clarified.

Looking ahead to the T20 series, Babar hinted at experimentation within the squad, emphasizing the team’s flexibility and the importance of nurturing young talent. “Our lineup is flexible. We’re trying to give opportunities to our young players and bench strength. You’ll see different combinations in this series,” Babar remarked.

Expressing satisfaction with the squad’s balance of youth and experience, Babar welcomed the inclusion of new faces, emphasizing the team’s collective support for players at all stages of their career. “I am very happy when I see a new player getting selected… We try to keep them in our wings,” Babar affirmed.

Babar’s comments suggest that Pakistan is prioritizing team unity and long-term development ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup. The team’s focus on experimentation and nurturing young talent indicates a strategic approach to building a competitive squad for the future.

Kiwi Cricketer Ish Sodhi Tries His Hand at Punjabi Commentary, Mistakenly Calls Babar Azam “Babar Zaman”

New Zealand cricketer Ish Sodhi recently showcased his linguistic skills by attempting Punjabi commentary in a blooper reel. The video, shared by Pakistan Cricket’s official social media handle, captured Sodhi’s humorous commentary on a previous encounter between Pakistan and New Zealand.

Sodhi’s commentary focused on his own bowling and that of teammate James Neesham. He humorously narrated his bowling to Pakistani players Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam. “Fir aya Ish Sodhi aur Fakhar Zaman ne fir chakka mareya, aur nahi, catch hogya, shukar hai Fakhar Zaman out ho gaya, bahut tang karte hai,” he said, describing how Zaman hit a six but was eventually caught out.

A light-hearted moment occurred when Sodhi accidentally referred to Babar Azam as “Babar Zaman.” “Yeh dekho Babar Zaman ne fir chauka maar diya,” he said, meaning “Look, Babar Zaman has hit another boundary.” He quickly realized his mistake after being corrected, adding a comedic element to the video.

The Pakistan men’s cricket team will face New Zealand in an upcoming T20 international series, part of their preparations for the T20 World Cup in June. The series begins in Rawalpindi on April 18 and is highly anticipated as both teams look to fine-tune their squads ahead of the global tournament.

Sodhi’s Punjabi commentary has garnered attention on social media, showcasing his playful nature and the camaraderie between the two teams. The upcoming T20 series promises to be an exciting contest, with both Pakistan and New Zealand aiming to make a strong statement ahead of the World Cup.

Babar Azam Set to Reclaim Pakistan White-Ball Captaincy

Babar Azam Set to Reclaim Pakistan White-Ball Captaincy

Shaheen Shah Afridi’s brief tenure as Pakistan’s T20I captain is nearing its end, with Babar Azam set to reclaim the white-ball captaincy. PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi has offered the role to Babar, who has yet to accept.

Babar’s reluctance stems from his removal as captain across all formats following Pakistan’s disappointing 2023 ODI World Cup campaign. He has requested the PCB to appoint him captain in all three formats if he is to return.

Afridi’s leadership has come under scrutiny after Pakistan’s 4-1 T20I series loss to New Zealand and Lahore Qalandars’ dismal performance in the PSL, where they finished bottom of the table. However, Afridi may feel aggrieved, given Naqvi’s previous comments about Pakistan seeking a long-term captain.

Babar’s demand to be Test captain could put pressure on Shan Masood’s position as red-ball skipper. Masood has also led Pakistan for just one series, with the team losing all three games in Australia.

The captaincy saga highlights the PCB’s instability over the past 18 months. Multiple chief selectors and selection committees have been appointed, with Zaka Ashraf’s decision to sack Mickey Arthur and Grant Bradburn being the most high-profile.

The current selection committee consists of four selectors, with no chief selector. Decisions are made by vote, with 4-3 majorities carrying the day.

Pakistan’s next series, against New Zealand in April, is expected to be led by Babar. The PCB is still searching for a head coach, with Jason Gillespie and Gary Kirsten among the candidates being considered.

Pakistan Cricket Team's Dressing Room Tensions Over Batting Order

Pakistan Cricket Team’s Dressing Room Tensions Over Batting Order

Pakistan Cricket Team’s Dressing Room Tensions Surface Over Batting Order

Former Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s recent public expression of dissatisfaction with his batting position in T20 Internationals has exposed underlying tensions within the national team’s dressing room. The situation stems from the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to remove Babar as captain across all three formats.

During a media interaction amidst the Pakistan Super League, Babar openly voiced his discontent, particularly highlighting his dissatisfaction with being relegated to bat at number three during the T20 series against New Zealand in January. This discontent emerged after Pakistan’s 1-4 series loss to New Zealand, during which the successful opening partnership between Babar and Mohammad Rizwan was disrupted, with Rizwan paired alongside the young Saim Ayub instead.

“It was the Pakistan team’s demand at the time. I did that for Pakistan,” Babar said. “If I was asked individually, I wasn’t satisfied with the decision to bat at one down position. However, I did that for Pakistan.”

Babar also clarified that he didn’t take any pressure opening in the shortest format, either for Pakistan or his PSL franchise Peshawar Zalmi.

Rizwan had also previously expressed his unhappiness at the change in the batting order, stating that the management’s decision was not fruitful and hurt the side. “You can say that it [breaking the opening pair] has hurt Pakistan. I can say that Babar bhai has a big heart,” Rizwan said after Pakistan lost the fourth T20I against New Zealand. “We both agreed that there is no issue. We both told the management that they can try whatever combination they want.”

The changes in the batting order were initiated by former Pakistan team director Muhammad Hafeez and new T20I captain Shaheen Shah Afridi.

The public airing of grievances by senior players like Babar and Rizwan suggests a lack of harmony within the Pakistan team. The PCB’s decision to remove Babar as captain has clearly created a rift, and the team’s performance on the field has suffered as a result. It remains to be seen how the PCB will address these tensions and restore unity within the dressing room.

Karachi Kings Fall Short in PSL Thriller Despite Babar Azam's Half-Century

Karachi Kings Fall Short in PSL Thriller Despite Babar Azam’s Half-Century

Karachi Kings’ PSL Hopes Dashed by Peshawar Zalmi Despite Babar Azam’s Heroics

In a thrilling encounter at the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Karachi Kings fell agonizingly short of their target against Peshawar Zalmi on Monday. Despite chasing a modest total of 148, Karachi Kings succumbed to a two-run defeat.

Peshawar Zalmi’s innings was anchored by Babar Azam, who played a captain’s knock of 50 runs to guide his team to a respectable score. In response, Karachi Kings’ chase faltered despite a valiant 41 off 30 balls from Tim Seifert.

Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, who recently made headlines for his separation from Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, contributed 22 runs off 25 balls before being dismissed by Afghanistan’s Naveen-ul-Haq. Malik’s wife, Sana Javed, witnessed the dismissal from the stands, her expression etched with disappointment.

The match marked a bittersweet moment for Malik, who had announced his third marriage to Javed in January. The news of his separation from Mirza had sent shockwaves through the sports world, ending a high-profile union that had captivated fans from both India and Pakistan.

Mirza, who retired from professional tennis last year, has remained tight-lipped about the split. However, she has hinted at personal struggles in recent social media posts.

The Karachi Kings’ defeat leaves them with a disappointing start to the PSL season. Despite the setback, the team will be hoping to bounce back and secure a playoff berth.

Babar Azam's Spidercam Scare: A Hilarious Moment in the 2024 PSL

Babar Azam’s Spidercam Scare: A Hilarious Moment in the 2024 PSL

Babar Azam’s Spidercam Scare: A Hilarious Moment in the 2024 PSL

During the high-octane clash between Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings in the 2024 Pakistan Super League (PSL), Pakistan’s star batter Babar Azam found himself in an unexpected encounter with the spidercam. As Babar entered the field, the spidercam followed him closely, catching him off guard. Startled by the device’s proximity, Babar swiftly dodged the camera, creating a hilarious moment that quickly went viral on social media.

Despite the spidercam incident, Babar led Zalmi to a nail-biting victory over Karachi Kings by two runs, securing a spot in the playoffs of the 2024 PSL. Babar’s gritty innings of 51 runs in 46 balls played a pivotal role in Zalmi’s total of 147. With this win, Zalmi now top the table with 13 points from 10 games, although they have played one match more than Multan Sultans and Quetta Gladiators.

Azam continues to dominate the 2024 PSL batting charts, leading with 498 runs in nine matches at an impressive average of 62.25. His outstanding performances include one century and five half-centuries in the tournament. Multan Sultans, positioned second with 12 points in nine games, and Quetta Gladiators, currently standing third with 11 points from nine games, are closely trailing Zalmi in the points table. Islamabad United hold the third spot with 11 points in 10 games.

Babar’s spidercam scare has become a talking point among cricket fans, highlighting the unexpected moments that can occur during live sporting events. Despite the humorous nature of the incident, it also serves as a reminder of the importance of safety precautions during live broadcasts.

Babar, Ayub Star as Peshawar Zalmi Crush Quetta Gladiators, Book Playoff Spot

Babar, Ayub Star as Peshawar Zalmi Crush Quetta Gladiators, Book Playoff Spot

Peshawar Zalmi Dominate Quetta Gladiators, Secure Playoff Berth in Pakistan Super League

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Peshawar Zalmi stormed into the playoffs of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) with a resounding 76-run victory over Quetta Gladiators on Friday. The triumph was orchestrated by a brilliant batting performance from Babar Azam and Saim Ayub, who overshadowed Akeal Hosein’s hat-trick.

Quetta’s batting woes continued as they were dismissed for a paltry 120 in 17.5 overs, chasing Peshawar’s imposing total of 196-8. Ayub, who has excelled in his new all-rounder role, played a pivotal role in dismantling Quetta’s top order, claiming the wickets of skipper Rilee Rossouw and Khawaja Nafay in quick succession.

Babar Azam, the league’s leading batter, continued his impressive form with a blistering 53 off 30 deliveries, studded with nine fours and a six. His innings propelled Peshawar to a formidable total.

Despite Hosein’s hat-trick in the final over, Peshawar’s batting depth proved too much for Quetta. Ayub opened the innings with a brisk 30 off 14 balls, while Rovman Powell (28 not out) and Naveen-ul-Haq (10 not out) added a crucial 39 runs in the closing stages.

The victory propelled Peshawar to second place in the standings, with a chance to secure a top-two finish in their final league game against Islamabad United on Sunday. Quetta, on the other hand, faces an uphill battle to reach the playoffs, needing to win at least one of their remaining two matches.

Peshawar Zalmi Snatch Four-Run Victory Over Multan Sultans in PSL Thriller

Peshawar Zalmi Snatch Four-Run Victory Over Multan Sultans in PSL Thriller

In a thrilling encounter of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Peshawar Zalmi emerged victorious over table-toppers Multan Sultans by a narrow margin of four runs. Despite a blistering 60 off 27 balls from Iftikhar Ahmed, Sultans fell short of their target of 205 runs, handing Zalmi their second win over the league leaders this season.

Zalmi’s chase got off to a strong start with captain Babar Azam and Saim Ayub putting on a 71-run partnership in the powerplay. Azam continued his impressive form, scoring 64 off 40 balls, while Ayub contributed 46 off 22 balls. However, Usama Mir’s three-wicket haul, including the key wicket of Azam, slowed down Zalmi’s progress.

With 58 runs required off the last three overs, Iftikhar and Chris Jordan launched a counterattack, scoring 75 runs off just 28 balls. Jordan remained unbeaten on 30 off 12 balls, but Zalmi ultimately fell short at 200-5.

Earlier, Sultans had posted a competitive total of 204-5, thanks to Azam’s knock and Ayub’s aggressive batting. However, Zalmi’s rookie left-arm spinner Mehran Mumtaz impressed in the powerplay, dismissing Reeza Hendricks in his debut PSL over.

Sultans’ top-order struggled against Zalmi’s bowling, with Mohammad Rizwan and Dawid Malan falling cheaply. Iftikhar and Jordan’s late surge almost pulled off a victory for Sultans, but Zalmi’s pacers held their nerve in the final overs to secure the win.

With this victory, Zalmi moved closer to a place in the final four, while Sultans remained at the top of the table despite their second loss. The match showcased the exciting and unpredictable nature of the PSL, with both teams displaying their fighting spirit and determination.

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