T20 WC: Shaheen Shah Afridi jolted India with two quick wickets.© Twitter
An elated Pakistan skipper Babar Azam spoke highly of left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in the post-match presentation after registering a historic 10-wicket win against India in their T20 World Cup 2021 opening match in Dubai. Shaheen took the game by storm when he dismissed Indian opener Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and then came back in the next over to castle KL Rahul for three runs. “We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful. Shaheen’s wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well,” said Babar on what the pacer’s early burst meant for the team.
After restricting India to 151/7 in their 20 overs, Pakistan’s Babar and Mohamad Rizwan started cautiously in the run-chase.
Apart from the occasional boundaries, they kept rotating the strike with regular singles and doubles to keep a check on the required run-rate.
Babar explained what exactly the plan was when he went out to bat along with Rizwan.
“The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. This is just the start, we have confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us,” he said.
Both batters remained unbeaten till the end and also brought up their individual half-centuries to help Pakistan win by 10 wickets. The unbeaten 152-run opening stand also gave Pakistan their first win against India in T20 World Cup history.
“The pressure on us wasn’t that much – we weren’t thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who’ve been preparing well. When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players come in with a lot of confidence because of that,” a relieved Babar said.
India will next play New Zealand on October 31 while Pakistan will take on New Zealand on October 26.
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