Pakistan coach Matthew Hayden has confirmed that he will go with the same opening duo Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan in the ICC T20 Championship. Globalism Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Sydney cricket land on Wednesday, although the duo did not give the side the promising start expected of them.
While Azam and Rizwan are Pakistan’s first opening duo, their subpar display here has prompted experts to ask team management to push the captain down the strike standings, but Hayden said their experience absorbing pressure in big match situations makes them ideal candidates to open up the innings.
“Babar and Rizwan are truly a number one combination. If I can take your minds back to a different World Cup, that was the 2007 World Cup and Adam Gilchrist had recovered from that undefeated campaign for Australia,” Hayden said.
“If you remember that last match against Sri Lanka, he scored an incredible 100 and realized his potential in that tournament and woke the world up again to the fact that he was such an excellent hitter in this form of the game.
“It’s always nice to have two players feel pressure, and we all feel pressure at any point in our careers. No different from the first group, no different from the No. 4 player ranked T20 in Babar,” Hayden added.
Expressing confidence in the striking capabilities of the two top-tier hitters, Hayden, a legendary opener in Australia, said, “Featured players often don’t stay for long.” “And don’t be surprised at all if you don’t see some fireworks because the players are very special,” he said.
Describing his team’s journey to the semi-finals, Hayden said it was an unbelievable experience, adding that South Africa’s surprise loss to the Netherlands before Pakistan’s match against Bangladesh gave his team “a great rhythm”.
“Shadab (Khan) said something very important in the dugout the other day when we were playing our last match (against Bangladesh), and he said, ‘Welcome to Pakistan Cricket.’ Meaning that on any day, anything can happen. And on that day In particular, when the Netherlands beat South Africa, it was an important moment for us in the tournament and a very, very important moment for the team in general about being able to access that potential.
“Lots of prayers when Pakistan woke up to see this result (Netherlands beat South Africa). 232 million people couldn’t be wrong. As a result, I feel there was a lot of tempo boosted in our group, which made that match against Bangladesh almost certain for Pakistan.” .
“An unbelievable experience, as I rightly said, it was a roller coaster ride, but the ride I wouldn’t have taken any other way because the last World Cup we went to was unbeaten and Australia beat us in the semi-finals. So, this is really important for Pakistan.”