Pakistan likely to make one change for 2nd T20I against Afghanistan
Pakistan may opt for an all-rounder to replace pacer Zaman Khan.
SHARJAH (Web Desk) – After their first ever defeat at the hands of Afghanistan, Pakistan is gearing up to exact revenge while preparing for the second T20 being played here on Sunday night.
Pakistan is likely to make one change. The Shadab Khan-led team may opt for an all-rounder to replace pacer Zaman Khan. The team management has to pick from Mohammad Nawaz and Iftikhar Ahmed as the Sharjah pitch is more conducive for the spin.
"The series is for our youngsters. We tried to give them confidence. The pressure of international cricket usually take a toll on newcomers, but we have to encourage them. They have talent, and hopefully, they'll show it in the next game,” Shadab said after the first T20I on Friday.
“These players are talented and we are sure about that. We should not make someone a star after just one good performance or discard after one failure. We will back these players and give them opportunity to perform during the series,” he added.
While chasing a target of only 93 runs, Afghanistan reached home in 17.5 overs for the loss of four wickets in the first match.
Pakistan, without five rested frontline players including captain Babar Azam, struggled on a slow and low pitch at Sharjah Cricket Stadium against the Afghans and were restricted to 92-9.
Afghanistan then overcame falling to 45-4 in the 10th over to cruise home with more than two overs to spare.
This was the first win for Afghanistan over Pakistan in any format in international cricket.
Debutant Ihsanullah claimed two wickets in his first over to put Afghan batting on back foot. However, they held their nerve to chase down the target.
Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who finished the match with a six, scored an unbeaten run-a-ball 38 with the help of three fours and a maximum.
Saim Ayub, Mohammad Haris, Abdullah Shafique, Tayyab Tahir, Shadab Khan (c), Azam Khan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz/Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Naseem Shah and Ihsanullah.
Pakistan bowling coach Umar Gul is expecting a response from his young side on Sunday.
“It was the first match for youngsters,” the former fast bowler said after the match. “They definitely learnt from it. Conditions here were different from Pakistan where these players performed in PSL. I hope they will learn from their mistakes and come back strong in the next games.
“It is a great platform for young players to perform at the international level. Overall, I am satisfied with the bowling and they bowled in good areas.
“The team is good; these youngsters have been performing in the domestic circuit for the last year or so. You can’t say on the basis of one match that they are not good enough. I strongly believe we have the potential to make a comeback and win the last two games.”
Afghanistan were naturally in a buoyant mood with man-of-the-match Mohammad Nabi, who made 38 not out to steer his side to victory, noting that the experience the Afghan players have earned playing in various leagues around the world, including the PSL, helped.
“Most of the guys in our squad are playing big leagues, some have been here in the UAE for 15 days so we were set,” he said at the post-match ceremony.
His skipper Rashid Khan hailed his side’s first victory in four matches against Pakistan but said Afghanistan’s front-line batters need to improve ahead of the 50-overs World Cup in India later this year.
“It’s a pleasure to win as we’ve always lost against them, sometimes with small margins,” Rashid said. “Wearing Afghanistan colors and leading the team in a win is a proud achievement. We never know the wicket . . . [but the] mindset was . . . to adjust accordingly. Happy for the win, and we hope to continue the momentum.”
But he added that their top order needed to perform better in the ongoing three-match series and maintain that form heading into the ODI World Cup in October-November.
“We need to improve not just for this series but as we get to the World Cup,” Rashid said. “From now on, we need to put effort day by day and game by game, so that by the end of the year, when we go for the World Cup, we’ll have a fully prepared squad.”