We were 10 runs short of a defendable total in 3rd T20I defeat: Babar Azam

LAHORE  -  Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam addressed the media following their surprising loss to a relatively inexperienced New Zealand team in the third T20I of the ongoing five-match series at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

In the post-match presentation, Babar Azam contested the notion that Pakistan’s cautious batting in the middle overs was to blame. He suggested instead that the team fell short of a secure score by about ten runs. “I don’t think it [slow run-rate during the middle overs] made much of a difference because we had caught up. You can say we were 10 runs short,” said Babar Azam. “Although we managed to catch up later in the innings, falling ten runs short was significant,” he added.

The match saw Pakistan face a minor crisis when Mohammad Rizwan was sidelined due to an injury, complicating the situation for incoming batsmen. However, Babar praised the recovery effort, particularly highlighting Shadab Khan’s role. “Shadab and Irfan Khan formed a crucial partnership that nearly brought us back into the game,” he noted.

Despite the setback, Babar Azam remained optimistic about the team’s batting performance, indicating that a target of 180-190 runs is typically competitive at this venue.New Zealand’s Mark Chapman was the standout performer of the match, scoring an impressive unbeaten 87 from just 42 balls, which included nine boundaries and four sixes, steering New Zealand to a comfortable seven-wicket win with over an over to spare. With the series now tied at 1-1, both teams are set to continue their rivalry in Lahore, with the remaining two matches scheduled for April 25 and 27.The series continues to draw significant attention as both teams prepare their strategies for the upcoming games, which promise to be high-stakes encounters.

PAKISTAN SQUAD FOR NEW ZEALAND T20IS: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haseebullah (wicketkeeper), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan. RESERVES: Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Wasim Jr.

NEW ZEALAND SQUAD: Michael Bracewell (captain), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Zak Foulkes, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Ish Sodhi.

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