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June 30, 2019

Sarfraz showers praise on Imad, Shaheen


June 30, 2019

LEEDS, England: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed hailed Imad Wasim for his match-winning performance in a tense run-chase against Afghanistan here at Headingley on Wednesday, writes Khalid Hussain.

Sarfraz, who was run out when Pakistan were still in hot waters, saw with great satisfaction how Imad farmed the strike with tail-enders to seal a much-needed three-wicket win in the do-or-die World Cup match. Imad’s unbeatan 49 from 54 balls helped Pakistan counter Afghanistan’s potent spin attack.

“It is a great win for us. Not an easy pitch to bat on, but credit goes to Imad - the way he batted, the way he handled pressure, hats off to him.

“We knew it was not an easy chase, their bowlers used the conditions very well. Babar (Azam) and Imam (ul-Haq) played very well, we needed a partnership in the middle that didn’t happen, but we got it in the end. A full team effort.

Sarfraz also heaped praise on Shaheen Afridi, who followed his three-wicket haul against New Zealand with impressive figures of 4-47.

“Shaheen Afridi is improving day by day, he’s working very hard. The other bowlers also bowled really well. All are in good nick. (On India vs England) Obviously we’ll all watch, hopefully the better team will win,” Sarfraz said.

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib was appreciative of his team’s effort despite losing his eighth World Cup game in a row.

“We fought very well and gave 100% but in the end we missed an opportunity to win the match,” he said.

Gulbadin gave credit to Pakistan for overcoming anxious moments in the run-chase.

“But credit goes to Pakistan. Imad played really well and Shadab (Khan) gave him the strike well. We’re playing these kind of teams, so you’ll face these situations. But if you win the match... as you saw we lost at the end of the innings. Bad luck for us today, Hamid Hasan was injured. The wicket was slow and turning, credit to Nabi, Mujeeb, Rashid and Sami also. But we missed Hamid. I said at the start of the tournament 30-40 is not enough, you need 60-70 or 100, then you can put a good total. But each batsman, including me, should go one step forward. We are learning a lot, so hopefully we’ll do well in the future.”

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