Tag Archives: Babar Azam

Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi named ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year

Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi was on Monday named as the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year for 2021.

After the development, Afridi, 21, is has now become the youngest cricketer ever to get the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy and is also the first Pakistani player to receive the honour. Meanwhile, it is also the fourth individual trophy won by by Pakistan in this edition of the ICC awards.

Notably, Afridi, was on fire throughout 2021 as he knocked out some of the best batters over across all three formats of the game and reached his peak during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in UAE where he impressed one and all with his sheer speed and skills.

At the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Afridi scalped seven wickets from just six matches and helped Pakistan formidably enter the semi-finals of the tournament.

His most memorable performance was at the high stakes game against India at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. He claimed three wickets in that match which included the wickets of opening pair Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and that of India captain Virat Kohli in the death overs.

In the Test format, Afridi remained consistent and claimed 47 wickets in only nine matches at a staggering average of 17.06.

Commenting on receiving the honour Shaheen Afridi, said: “I feel truly honoured and privileged to become the first Pakistan cricketer to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year. I had always dreamt of doing something unique and special for Pakistan. In this background, I am elated and thank Almighty for blessing me with this respect.”

“I also feel humbled to join a galaxy of legends who have previously won the Garfield Sobers Trophy. I have grown up watching the exploits of these cricketers and now to be bracketed with them is a matter of great honour and pride for me, my family, my teammates and my country,” he added.

Afridi further felt that the most magnificent performances for him was the one against India when he packed back the star Indian trio of Rohit, Rahul and Kohli.

“This award is a testament to the high quality of cricket we played as a group during another difficult and challenging year. This required a lot of mental and physical toughness on a consistent basis, and I am glad we all were able to maintain the high standards to live up to the expectations of our fans,” he said.

“Every performance I gave for Pakistan was enjoyable and memorable and was made possible through the support of my teammates. But to me, the standout performances remained the three wickets against India in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, and the 18 wickets I took in the two-Test series against the West Indies in Jamaica,” Afridi expressed.

Significantly, Pakistani players rule the ICC Awards 2021 as apart from Afridi, skipper Babar Azam has been named as the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year, Fatima Sana as ICC Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2021 while wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan as the ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam named ICC ODI Cricketer of 2021

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam was on Monday named ICC ODI Cricketer of 2021.

Babar, 21, endured a fine year with the bat as he amassed 405 runs from six games riding on a decent average of 67.50. The Pakistan skipper was the second-highest run-scorer with 228 runs and was the Player of the Match in both of Pakistan’s wins in the 2-1 series victory against South Africa.

Babar, who was selected as the captain of the men’s ODI and T20I elevens of the year 2021, beat competition from Bangladesh’s Shakib al Hasan, South Africa’s Janneman Malan and Ireland’s Paul Sterling to win the award.

In his acceptance speech, Babar thanked fans, family, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the ICC and his team for supporting and boosting his morale and said he believes his best knock in the year was against England at Edgbaston, which was also his career-best.

“First of all, I am thankful for the fans for supporting me and cheering me on. After that, I am thankful to PCB and ICC and especially my Pakistan team for supporting and backing me. It wasn’t possible without them. I feel proud to have such a good team. I am also thankful to my parents who prayed a lot (for my success),” said Azam in his acceptance speech.

Babar might have played only six ODis in 2021, but he made vital contributions in the two series that Pakistan played this year.

He was the second-highest run-scorer with 228 runs and was the Player of the Match in both of Pakistan’s wins in the 2-1 series victory against South Africa. The architect of Pakistan’s chase of 274 in the first ODI, Babar made a century and laid the foundation with an 82-ball 94 in the final ODI where the visitors posted 320 batting first.

He was the lone warrior for Pakistan when they were swept by England 3-0. He accumulated 177 runs in three games but found no support none of the other batters managed to score more than 100 in the series.

Azam’s best performance this year came in a losing cause in the final ODI against England.

With the series already lost, Pakistan were playing for pride as well as crucial ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points in the third ODI at Birmingham. Put in to bat first, Pakistan posted 331, with Babar scoring close to half of the team’s runs.

Walking in to bat early in the innings, Babar strung a 92-run stand with Imam-ul-Haq to bail Pakistan out of trouble. He was cautious in his approach initially, bringing up his half-century in 72 balls. He made up for it by bringing up the next fifty runs in just 32 balls – it was his second ODI century of the year.

With the milestone out of the way, he exploded in the death overs and almost batted through the innings, getting out in the last over for 158, his highest-ever ODI score.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, James Vince and Lewis Gregory stole the show with a stunning 129-run stand for the sixth wicket as England chased the total down with two overs to spare.

PCB reviews domestic match fees policy for centrally contracted players

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reportedly reviewed the domestic match fees policy for its centrally contracted players, according to which these players will now be entitled to the same match fee for playing domestic cricket like other cricketers.

Earlier, the PCB had announced that if a centrally contracted cricketer plays domestic cricket, he/she would be given 50 percent of the match fee, as per their central contract, for playing in a domestic cricket match.

As per reports, the board has taken this decision to attract cricketers, who have central contracts, to play in domestic cricket.

Reports however, suggested that the board has abruptly changed the policy. As per the new policy, players, who enjoy central contracts, will be paid the same amount of domestic match fees as everyone else.

“The PCB said it has ended the discrimination of perks and salaries at all levels with the new policy,” a PCB official was quoted as saying by Geo TV website.

“The PCB said that the seniority slab system to determine match fees was no longer applicable, adding that if the compensation for playing in international matches was the same then the same practice should also be adopted when it comes to domestic matches,” the report added.

Earlier on July 2, the PCB had announced the central contracts for its men’s team. In the new list, pacer Hassan Ali and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan were promoted to category A following their good shows in the recent past.

The PCB had announced the contracts after the Governing Board’s approval of the 2021-22 fiscal year’s budget, which will run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

“It is an enhanced and performance-based central contract list 2021-22 for 20 elite male cricketers, including three emerging cricketers, in which match fee across all formats has been equalized,” the PCB statement had said.

The new list was finalised by the panel that comprised Director – International Cricket, Zakir Khan, chief selector Muhammad Wasim and Director – High Performance, Nadeem Khan, who also consulted Head Coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam as part of the process.

Meanwhile, the PCB had demoted former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to C category while Mohammad Hafeez was ignored from the list.

Moreover, the PCB  had also revised the renumeration packages of the players. After the revision, players in top category will get a 25 percent hike, however, there’s no increase in match fee for Test, ODI and T20Is.

Meanwhile, players in B category were also announced of a 25 percent raise while the Test match fee was increased by 15 percent, ODI match fee by 20 percent and T20I match fee by 25 percent.

On the other hand, players in C category were announced a 34 percent increase in Test match fee, 50 percent increase in ODIs and 67 percent rise in T20Is.

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan is currently touring Bangladesh for a three-match T20I series and a two-Test series.

The Green Brigade had recently won the T20I series 3-0 and will now face the hosts in the Test series with the first affair scheduled to begin on November 26 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.

The second Test will be held from December 4 in Dhaka.

PCB announce Test team’s departure schedule for Bangladesh series

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced its Test team’s departure schedule for the Bangladesh series as per which the national squad will enter the bio-secure bubble in Lahore on November 18.

After staying in the bubble for three days, the Pakistan Test squad then will leave for Dhaka on November 21 and after a day’s rest, the Test squad will join the T20 squad on November 23.

The Test squad will leave for Chittagong on November 24 while the T20 squad, after the conclusion of the white-ball series, will arrive in Lahore the same day.

Significantly, Pakistan are scheduled to play three T20Is at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Dhaka starting November 19.

While the second affair between the two sides will be held on November 20, the third and final one will be played on November 22.

The Pakistan cricket team will play its first Test match against hosts Bangladesh from November 26 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chattogram.

The second Test will be then held at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, which will host the entire T20I series, from December 4.

Earlier on Monday, the PCB had announced Test squad for Bangladesh series which saw opener Imam-Ul-Haq, middle-order batter Kamran Ghulam and off-spinner Bilal Asif earning a spot in the 20-member Pakistan squad, which will be led by Babar Azam.

On the other hand, Haris Rauf, Imran Butt, Shahnawaz Dahani and Yasir Shah, who were earlier part of the 21-member squad which had toured the West Indies in July earlier this year, have been replaced.

Left-handed batter Imam has been recalled following his good performances in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, where he had amassed 488 runs from five innings including an unbeaten double-century.

Imam had played his 11th and last Test against Australia in Adelaide in December 2019.

Meanwhile, Bilal replaced Yasir Shah who is still recovering from a thumb injury he sustained during the National T20.

Yasir is yet to feature in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

Pakistan Test squad:

Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Bilal Asif, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Zahid Mahmood.

Tamim Iqbal ruled out of Pakistan series due to thumb injury

In an another setback for host Bangladesh, Tamim Iqbal has been ruled out from the upcoming home series against Pakistan due to a thumb injury.

Host Bangladesh will already be without the services of Mohammad Saifuddin for the entire series while ace all-rounder Shakib al Hasan has been ruled out of the T20I series because of the hamstring injury which he had sustained during the just concluded ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE.

As per reports, Tamim had began his net sessions last week to prepare for the Tests however, he went for an x-ray as he felt uncomfortable while batting against pace bowlers and later, scans revealed that he had fractured his thumb.

Significantly, the Bangladesh opener was eyeing a comeback during the Test series against Pakistan.

“Yes, he is ruled out from the home series against Pakistan due to a thumb injury. The swelling has not healed and due to that reason he had another x-ray. It revealed he is having a fracture that was not found out previously,” Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) chief selector Minhajul Abedin was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

As per schedule, the Babar Azam-led Pakistan is scheduled to play two Tests and three T20 matches in Bangladesh during the tour, which will begin on November 19 in Dhaka.

While the T20I matches will be played on November 19, 20, and 22 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, the opening Test will be held from November 26 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram and the second and final Test will be held from December 4 in Dhaka.

Earlier, the Bangladesh cricket team had toured Pakistan in January 2020 for a three-match T20I series. Hosts Pakistan had won the series 2-0 with a game being abandoned due to rain.

Meanwhile, the BCB is hoping to allow fans back in the stadium for the home series against Pakistan as chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury had reportedly said that his board is aiming to bring back crowd in the stands.

As per reports, up to 50 percent of the venue’s capacity could be filled during the upcoming home series against Pakistan.

Notably, fans have been barred from the stadium in any international game in Bangladesh due to the Covid-19 situation. However, Chowdhury said that the BCB is thinking to allow atleast 50 percent crowd but the last decision will be taken by the government.

“We are hopeful to have fifty percent fans in the ground subject to the government approval. The fans need to be vaccinated. As children are yet to be vaccinated, they are unlikely to be allowed to see the matches from the gallery in the Pakistan series,” Chowdhury was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

Quarantine rules relaxed for Pakistan team for upcoming Bangladesh tour

The quarentine rules for the touring Pakistan team have been relaxed for their upcoming series against hosts Bangladesh however, a mandatory COVID-19 test will be in place.

Recently, the Bangladesh government had prepared a list of countries to define their position in Covid-19 as per which both Pakistan and UAE are in the green zone following which the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) decided not to have any room quarantine for the series, which will begin on November 19.

Earlier, a three-day room quarantine was mandatory in all the series since February- March 2020 after which various teams like West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand had served the mandatory rules.

“After arriving in Dhaka, they (Pakistan) will undergo Covid-19 test in their rooms and they can start their practice immediately after passing the test,” BCB Chief Physician Debashish Chowdhury was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

“There will be no quarantine for the Bangladesh team as well but all the cricketers need to have both the doses of Covid-19 vaccine,” he added.

Chowdhury further said: “They will also undergo Covid-19 test after entering the team hotel and can start practicing after testing negative. The rules are the same for everyone even if any member is included from outside the squad, he will have to follow the same process considering it will take just 12 hours to get test result (corona test).”

He also said that there would be more relaxed bio-bubble rules in place for the upcoming series.

Few days back, BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury had reportedly said that the board is hoping to allow fans back in the stadium, up to 50 percent of the venue’s capacity, during the upcoming home series against Pakistan.

Notably, fans have been barred from the stadium in any international game in Bangladesh due to the Covid-19 situation. However, Chowdhury said that the BCB is thinking to allow atleast 50 percent crowd but the last decision will be taken by the government.

“We are hopeful to have fifty percent fans in the ground subject to the government approval. The fans need to be vaccinated. As children are yet to be vaccinated, they are unlikely to be allowed to see the matches from the gallery in the Pakistan series,” Chowdhury was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz..

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan is scheduled to play two Tests and three T20 matches in Bangladesh during the tour, which will begin on November 19 in Dhaka.

While the T20I matches will be played on November 19, 20, and 22 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, the opening Test will be held from November 26 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram and the second and final Test will be held from December 4 in Dhaka.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan cricket team is likely to travel to Bangladesh directly from the UAE after the ongoing T20 World Cup final at the Dubai Sports City Stadium on November 14.

Earlier, the Bangladesh cricket team had toured Pakistan in January 2020 for a three-match T20I series. Hosts Pakistan had won the series 2-0 with a game being abandoned due to rain.

Bangladesh is next slated to face South Africa at home in March next year. The two sides will play three ODIs and two Tests.

T20 World Cup 2021 contest between India & Pakistan becomes most viewed T20I match

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, one of the most awaited tournaments of the year, has delivered exceptional viewership on Star India network, the official broadcaster of the event, registering a cumulative reach of 238* million till last week (qualifiers + first 12 games of Super 12 stage).

From edge-of-the-seat thrillers, exciting clashes to surprise packages, the opening stage, dominated by the high-octane India-Pakistan encounter, had its fair share of twists and turns, keeping viewers and fans hooked onto the action. The overall consumption reached an astounding 47 billion minutes (qualifiers + first 12 games of Super 12 stage).

With a reach of 167 million*, the highly-anticipated India-Pakistan clash on October 24, an event that saw the arch-rivals meet at an ICC tournament after two years, is now the most viewed T20I match, exceeding the previous high–India-West Indies 2016 ICC World T20 semi-finals.

Commenting on the development, a Star India spokesperson said: “The India-Pakistan match has created history by clocking a record reach of 167 million viewers, making it the most viewed T20I match till date. We have continually strived to grow the audience base for marquee Cricket and this record is a testament to our efforts across high-decibel campaigns, enhanced storytelling, dedicated regional programming, and consumer innovations.”

“There’s no doubt that the result of the match and India’s exit from the tournament disappointed fans but the record viewership displays the unique power of Cricket to engage audiences at an unprecedented scale,” he added.

The match surpassed the previous peak, which was the 2016 ICC World T20 semi-finals between India and West Indies, which had a reach of 136 million and an AMA (average minute audiences in ‘000) of 60.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 began with the ‘Live the Game’ campaign anthem, created by Star Sports in association with ICC. Highlighting cricket as a sport that transcends boundaries, with fans across the globe, the campaign captured the attention and infused joy, and togetherness with the fiercest competition.

Captivating and building on the hype of the marquee tournament, the broadcaster announced a complete revamp of design and technology and the debut of industry-first broadcast innovations ahead of the Super 12 stage.

Significantly, India had lost the high octane clash against the Babar Azam-led Pakistan side by 10 wickets.

It was for the first time in the history of ICC World Cups when Pakistan had registered a win against arch-rivals India.

Asked to bat first, India rode skipper Virat Kohli’s 57 followed by stumper Rishabh Pant’s valuable 39 to put a respectable 151/7 in the allotted 20 overs before Pakistan overhauled the target with ease.

Chasing a moderate 152-run target, Babar’s unbeaten 68 along with Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 79 helped Pakistan cross the line in 17.5 overs as the Indian bowlers struggled for wickets.

Mohammad Hafeez pulls out of Bangladesh tour: Reports

Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez has decided to pull out of the upcoming Bangladesh tour, which will kick-off soon after the final of ongoing T20 World Cup.

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan is scheduled to play two Tests and three T20 matches in Bangladesh during the tour, which will begin on November 19 in Dhaka.

As per a reports, Hafeez wants to provide opportunity to young players during the tour and as a reason he decided to withdraw from it.

Although the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to announce the squad, it has been learnt that Hafeez will be replaced by Iftikhar Ahmed. The PCB is likley to announce the squad within by Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.

While the T20i matches will be played on November 19, 20, and 22 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, the opening Test will be held from November 26 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram and the second and final Test will be held from December 4 in Dhaka.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan cricket team is likely to travel to Bangladesh directly from the UAE after the ongoing T20 World Cup final at the Dubai Sports City Stadium on November 14.

According to a report in ‘The News’, there are very slim chances of the Pakistani cricketers coming back home from the UAE as they have already made to the knock-out stage of the showpiece event.

The final of the ongoing World Cup final is scheduled to be played on November 14 which means that the Pakistan team will not be having enough time to get back home and then fly to Bangladesh.

“Pakistan are expected to fly straight from the UAE to Bangladesh for the series. There will not be enough time in between the two events that could allow the team members to get out of the bio-secure bubble,” a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told the publication.

“The decision to this effect, however, will be taken at that particular time. In all probability, the team will travel to Bangladesh for the series directly from the UAE,” the report further quoted the source as saying.

However, the source also added that the only possibility of getting back home would be if the Green Brigade wins the coveted trophy and then it could go back home to share the victory with the nation by making a stopover before heading to Bangladesh.

Till now, the PCB has still not announced the team for the Bangladesh tour but it has been learnt that the majority of the current team members, who are already in the UAE, are expected to be part of the touring squad while Test players like Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Abdullah Shafiq, and Saud Shakil would join them later.

“There will be minimal changes made to the team that is already in the UAE for the World Cup. There is not enough time in between the events to think in terms of any major changes. Besides the addition of a few Test specialists, the touring squad will almost be the same. Since the Test series starts from November 26, Test specialists could join the team at later stages. Almost the same T20 combination (15 team members and three reserves) are expected to travel to Bangladesh. At the same time, you cannot rule out the retirement of any veteran player at the end of the ongoing World Cup. Even in that case, Pakistan will be having enough backup currently with the touring squad,” added the source.

Pakistan likely to fly directly to Bangladesh post T20 World Cup

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan cricket team is likely to travel to Bangladesh directly from the UAE after the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final at the Dubai Sports City Stadium on November 14.

The Green Brigade are scheduled to play two Tests and three T20 matches in Bangladesh during the tour.

According to a report in ‘The News’, there are very slim chances of the Pakistani cricketers coming back home from the UAE as they have almost made to the knock-out stage of the showpiece event.

Pakistan have almost sealed a semi-finals’ berth with three wins from as many games abd will now face the minnows in their two of the remianing games.

The final of the ongoing World Cup final is scheduled to be played on November 14 which means that the Pakistan team will not be having enough time to get back home and then fly to Bangladesh.

“Pakistan are expected to fly straight from the UAE to Bangladesh for the series. There will not be enough time in between the two events that could allow the team members to get out of the bio-secure bubble,” a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told the publication.

“The decision to this effect, however, will be taken at that particular time. In all probability, the team will travel to Bangladesh for the series directly from the UAE,” the report further quoted the source as saying.

However, the source also added that the only possibility of getting back home would be if the Green Brigade wins the coveted trophy and then it could go back home to share the victory with the nation by making a stopover before heading to Bangladesh.

Till now, the PCB has still not announced the team for the Bangladesh tour but it has been learnt that the majority of the current team members, who are already in the UAE, are expected to be part of the touring squad while Test players like Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Abdullah Shafiq, and Saud Shakil would join them later.

“There will be minimal changes made to the team that is already in the UAE for the World Cup. There is not enough time in between the events to think in terms of any major changes. Besides the addition of a few Test specialists, the touring squad will almost be the same. Since the Test series starts from November 26, Test specialists could join the team at later stages. Almost the same T20 combination (15 team members and three reserves) are expected to travel to Bangladesh. At the same time, you cannot rule out the retirement of any veteran player at the end of the ongoing World Cup. Even in that case, Pakistan will be having enough backup currently with the touring squad,” added the source.

Last month, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury had confirmed that Pakistan will tour Bangladesh just after the T20 World Cup.

“The Pakistan series will happen right after the [T20] World Cup. The cricket operations department is in talks with the Pakistan board to finalise the details. All formats will be included, there will be more ODIs and Tests,” Chowdhury had told mediapersons.

As per Chowdhury, the Pakistan cricket team will arrive in Dhaka on November 15 for the series.

T20 World Cup: Pakistan scripts history; thrash India by 10 wickets

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan side scripted history on Sunday as the Green Brigade broke their World Cup jinx against arch-rivals India after thrashing the Virat Kohli-led side by 10 wickets in the third match of the ongoing T20 World Cup in Dubai.

Chasing a modest total of 152 runs for victory, Babar (68 not out off 52) and Mohammad Rizwan (79 unbeaten off 55) played brilliantly as the opening duo denied the Indian bowlers any success and helped their side cross the line with 13 balls to spare.

Notably, it is for the first time when Pakistan defeated India in a World Cup match, having lost their all encounters in the past.

The Pakistan opener posted the highest ever partnership for any wicket by any team against India in T20Is and also surpassed the previous best, which was 133 by David Warner and Shane Watson.

Rizwan and Babar also created another record of Pakistan’s best-ever partnership for any wicket against India in T20Is as they surpassed the nine-year-old record created by Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik when they scored 106 runs for the fourth wicket in 2012 at Bangalore.

For India, pacer Mohammed Shami was the most expensive bowler, leaking 43 runs from 3.5 overs.

Pakistan’s Rizwan, meanwhile, also completed 1,500 T20 runs in the ongoing calendar year. He’s only the 2nd Pakistani after Babar Azam to score 1,500 runs in a calendar year.

Earlier put into bat, skipper Kohli (57 off 49 balls) and stumper Rishabh Pant (39 off 30 balls) steadied the ship for India as they duo forged a crucial 53-run partnership for the fourth wicket after the Men in Blue lost three early wickets.

It was the duo’s effort in the middle which somehow helped India to reach 151/7 in the allotted 20 overs.

Put into bat, India was reduced to 36/3 in the power-play as Shaheen Shah Afridi (3/31) jolted the kohli-led side after packing back both the openers – KL Rahul (3) and Rohit Sharma cheaply. Rohit couldn’t even manage to open his account as he was trapped before the wickets by Afridi in the very first over of the match itself.

Later, incoming batter Suryakumar Yadav (11 off 8) hit a maximum off Afridi and swept spinner Imad Wasim for a boundary but his stay at the crease was cut short by Pakistan wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan, who dived to his right to catch a thick edge off Hasan Ali delivery in the final over of the power-play.

Follwoing his dismissal, Kohli was joined by Pant in the middle and the duo led the charge for rebuilding the Indian innings.

While Pant was more aggressive, Kohli kept on rotating the strike.

Just when the duo looked settled in the middle, Pant top-edged a slog delivery of the 13th over by Shadab Khan, who caught the Indian stumper off his own bowling.

After Pant’s dismissal, Kohli took the charge as he slammed four boundaries off Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali en route to his half-century while Ravindra Jadega chipped in with 13 runs off as many deliveries as the men in Blue somehow posted a respectable total on the score board.

For Pakistan, Afridi was the wrecker-in-chief as he returned with impressive figures of 3/31 while Hasan Ali bagged couple of wickets conceding 44 runs. On the other hand, Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf picked one wicket each handing 22 and 25 runs respectively.

Pakistan will next face New Zeland in Sharjah on Tuesday while India will face the Kiwis in their next encounter on October 31.

Brief scores: Pakistan 152/0 (Mohammad Rizwan 79 not out, Babar Azam 68 not out) in 17.5 overs BEAT India 151/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 57, Rishabh Pant 39, Shaheen Afridi 3/31, Hasan Ali 2/44) by 10 wickets