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April 16, 2021

Shahid Afridi tells Pakistan team to review middle-order performances after series win


Fri, Apr 16, 2021
Former Pakistani cricket captain Shahid Khan Afridi. Photo: File

Former Pakistani cricket skipper Shahid Afridi Friday congratulated the Pakistani team on winning the T20I against South Africa but emphasised the need to work on middle-order performances. 

In a Twitter post,  the former all-rounder said: "Despite the victory, we need to review the middle-order performances where we seem to be struggling for a long time."

He also suggested that since it is the  T20 World Cup year, the team should consider bringing  Shoaib Malik back.

Earlier today, Pakistan defeated South Africa by three wickets in the last fixture of the four-match T20I series at the Supersport Park in Centurion and clinched the series 3-1.

Pakistan, like South Africa, suffered a middle-order collapse as they went from 92-1 to 129-7.

However, Mohammad Nawaz kept his cool in the end and was aided by some poor bowling by the hosts, allowing the tourists to cap the tour with a 3-1 T20I series win to go with the ODI triumph earlier this month.

At the beginning of the innings, Mohammad Rizwan went for a duck leaving Babar Azam, 24, and Fakhar Zaman, 60, to help Pakistan stay on track — till they suffered the middle-order collapse.

Mohammad Hafeez went for 10, Haider Ali 3, Asif Ali 5, and Faheem Ashraf was sent back to the pavilion for 7.

Nawaz scored 25 and in the end, hit a six to end the match.

Earlier, medium-pace bowler Faheem Ashraf sparked a South African collapse when he took three for 17.

The Proteas, who were put to bat after losing the toss, were bowled out for 144 on what is usually a high-scoring ground.

South Africa had reached 73 for one after the early loss of Aiden Markram when Faheem had Janneman Malan caught at mid-off for 33 in the ninth over.

Faheem followed up with the wickets of South African captain Heinrich Klaasen and George Linde. He bowled his four overs in succession and did not concede a boundary.

Fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf took three for 40 and two for 18 respectively.

Rassie van der Dussen top-scored for South Africa with 52 off 36 balls.

In the last game, Pakistan captain Babar Azam and batsman Mohammad Rizwan steered the Men in Green to victory.

Although South Africa set a massive 204-run target, Pakistan easily chased it with nine wickets to spare and took a lead of 2-1 in the four-match series.

Babar Azam hit 122 runs, comprising a whopping 15 fours and four sixes, while Mohammad Rizwan scored an unbeaten 73 runs, with five fours and two sixes.

South Africa will be hoping that in today’s game their fielding will rise to the occasion as they let the visitors off easily in the third T20I.