PAK vs NZ: Azhar Mahmood hints at changes in batting order

Pakistan lost the third T20I against New Zealand on Sunday

By Web Desk
April 22, 2024
Azhar Mahmood speaks during a press conference. - PCB

Pakistan head coach Azhar Mahmood has hinted at changes in the team’s batting order after suffering a loss in the third T20I against New Zealand on Sunday.

In the post-match press conference, Mahmood was asked if the top three are fixed in Pakistan’s batting order.

“I have said this before as well that your top three is fixed but after that we have to look at matchups and decide accordingly. In this match [third T20I] we wanted Rizwan to get some time in the middle since the first match was washed out due to rain. But going forward we will be flexible as far as the batting positions are concerned since one number is not set for a particular player,” Mahmood replied to the aforementioned question.

Saim Ayub, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were Pakistan's top three in the batting order during the second and third T20I. 

Mahmood also admitted that Pakistan were 15 to 20 runs short in the third T20I.

"We were 15 to 20 runs short based on the par score. We started quite well in the first six overs and scored around 54 runs. Shadab played very well towards the end. But I think we lost momentum in the middle overs as the ball was gripping a bit,” he added.

It must be noted that New Zealand made a stunning comeback in the five-match T20I series courtesy of Mark Chapman who led the visitors to victory by seven wickets in the third match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

The series is now level at 1-1 with two matches remaining in Lahore. The matches are scheduled on April 25 and 27 at the Gaddafi Stadium.

New Zealand had a great start to the 179-run target with openers Tim Robinson (28) and Tim Seifert (21), scoring 42 runs for the first wicket.

The home side looked to stage a comeback with back-to-back dismissals by Naseem Shah and Abbas Afridi but Chapman, paired with Dean Foxcroft had their plans.

The left-hander was the aggressor in the partnership of 117 runs while Foxcroft supported him brilliantly. Chapman reached his eighth fifty in this format and finished on an unbeaten score of 87. He stroked nine fours and four sixes in his 42-ball innings

Foxcroft made 31 off 29 balls with the chase completing in the 19th over.

Earlier, the hosts started well with Saim Ayub dominating the visitors. The opening duo of Saim and Babar made 54-0. Saim was caught by James Neesham off Ish Sodhi's bowling after scoring 32 runs from 22 balls at a strike rate of 145.45.

Meanwhile, in a 62-run partnership with Irfan Khan, Shadab stroked 41 runs off 20 balls with the help of six boundaries. Irfan finished not-out on 20-ball 30, smashing three fours and a six.