Pakistan take on New Zealand in 4th T20I at Gaddafi Stadium

LAHORE  -  Pakistan cricket team is set to face New Zealand in the crucial fourth match of their five-game T20I series here at the Lahore’s iconic Gaddafi Stadium today (Thursday).

Currently, the series stands evenly poised at 1-1, with both teams looking to gain the upper hand ahead of the final clash.In the previous encounter, New Zealand clinched a seven-wicket victory, overhauling Pakistan’s first-innings total of 178 with 10 balls to spare. Shadab Khan led the scoring for Pakistan with a brisk 41, while Mark Chapman starred for the Kiwis with an impressive 87 runs. Pakistan had earlier won the second T20I by crushing the Kiwis, after the opening match was abandoned due to rain.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam addressed various topics including team dynamics and preparation ahead of next month’s ICC T20I World Cup. He emphatically dismissed any suggestions of discontent regarding players’ batting roles within the team. “The management and players are in full agreement on our strategies, particularly concerning the top order lineup,” Babar stated, emphasizing the ongoing search for an optimal combination.

Babar also tackled the media’s speculation about internal team issues following their recent defeat. “There is absolutely no room for misunderstanding within this squad. A single loss doesn’tindicate a rift; we win and lose together,” he asserted. He further remarked that the recent defeat was not solely due to individual performances but was a collective shortfall.

Highlighting the team’s injuries, Babar mentioned that Mohammad Rizwan, a key player for Pakistan, suffered a minor injury but is expected to recover in time for the upcoming Ireland tour and the World Cup. Unfortunately, Rizwan, alongside all-rounder Irfan Khan Niazi, has been sidelined with hamstring injuries for the remainder of the New Zealand series.

Addressing concerns about the impact of a rigorous fitness camp at the military academy Kakul on player injuries, Babar reassured that the training was not the cause. “Injuries are a part of the sport, and the fitness camp is designed to enhance our readiness, not compromise it,” he explained, underscoring the continuous care and attention the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) provides to player welfare.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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