Dubai: Pakistan stamped their authority as the world’s best Twenty20 team by beating Australia by 11 runs in the second T20 match of the three match-series at the Dubai International stadium on Friday night to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series.
It was Pakistan’s 10th consecutive T20 International series win, which is expected to help them take a huge lead at the top of International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad, who was a worried man after his team’s poor show in the Asia Cup, is now a happy man after the Test series win over Australia and now the T20 series triumph.
“It’s not easy to win 10 series on the trot in the T20 format. The way we have played and improved has been very good. We have improved on batting, bowling and fielding and our management and selection committee deserves credit. We have given confidence to all our players.”
Pakistan had won the first T20 match of the series in Abu Dhabi by 66 runs and has thus transformed the third T20 match on Sunday as a contest to for a 3-0 sweep over Australia.
“It is great to win the series against a top quality side like Australia as all their players know the art of this format. They really tried their best to win this match but my bowlers responded very well,” added Sarfraz.
“All my bowlers are bowling well. Shadab Khan, Hassan Ali and Faheem Ashraf are getting better day-by-day. Mohammad Hafeez too bowls well whenever we need him. Imad Wasim was brilliant, giving just eight run from four overs. We wanted a total of over 150 but I felt we played too many dot balls while batting. If we could have cut down that, then we could have easily got 160-170. The way we finished the match is special. It was a wicket which was easy for the batsmen and the way we restricted is brilliant,” he said.
Sarfraz then explained why he gave 18-year-old pacer Shaheen Afridi the last over despite Australia needing 23 runs to win.
“I was confident of Shaheen bowling the last over. He may be inexperienced but he showed that he has the capacity to be a big bowler. He bowled well in a tough situation. I told him this is the time to be a hero and gave him the confidence. I just told him to bowl three good balls but after the first ball (which was hit for a six), I went up to him and told him to bowl two good balls and he delivered five good deliveries and won the match for us. We will now try to give those on the bench a go in the last game.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Glen Maxwell who played a heroic knock of 52 off 37 balls (four boundaries and two sixes) said: “They [Pakistan] are very good players in their own conditions, they’ve been very well-drilled. It’s exactly the same as the way we play our T20 cricket back in our summer, in our conditions where we are clinical as we know what we have to do in our conditions and it’s hard for teams to beat us. We’ve obviously got a bit of work to do winning games over here.”
Maxwell is hoping that his innings signal the start of a good season for him.
“It was nice to get some reward for a lot of hard work behind the scenes. I’ve had probably a bit of a disjointed start to the summer and been thrown around in a few different conditions. Hopefully, it’s the start of a long run of scores.”