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  • Sarfaraz reveals what set Babar's winning innings apart

    Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Babar Azam File Photo Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Babar Azam

    Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, in post-victory musings on Thursday, heaped praise on his teammates for not losing hope and delivering their very best on the field against New Zealand, especially admiring Babar Azam's innings which he said were second to none in his memory.

    "I don’t remember seeing a better innings in chase than the one Babar played against New Zealand. I dare say Babar is one of the best players of this generation," he wrote in a blog for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

    "He is a class apart. He is technically very correct and it's tough to get him out once he gets going. He looked in total command against a strong New Zealand bowling attack," he continued, before adding: "One of the best things about Babar’s innings was how much he valued his wicket and hardly played a risky shot."

    The skipper was careful, however, to not leave Haris Sohail out among the players mentioned. He lauded the "highly mature" way the middle-order batsman had played against New Zealand the day before.

    "For the second successive time, Haris batted sensibly and solidly. He took the attack to the New Zealand bowlers," he said.

    Sarfaraz reminded readers that Haris's performance came despite batting on a challenging wicket.

    "It should be kept in mind his clean stroke-play doesn’t mean it was a batting-friendly wicket. Contrary to this, it was an extremely difficult pitch to bat on as shown by Mitchell Santner."

    The captain also praised Shaheen Shah Afridi's "outstanding" performance, saying it would be unfair not to mention him.

    Speaking about the young bowler's gameplay at the beginning of the tournament, the skipper said: "He had struggled in the earlier matches, but hard work in the training sessions, backed up by a good temperament, helped him to regain his wicket-taking abilities."

    "Once he starts taking wickets, we all know he can be lethal and that’s precisely what he showed on Wednesday finishing with figures of 10-3-28-3. At just 19 years of age, I have no doubts this lad will contribute regularly and consistently in Pakistan’s future successes across all three formats," said Sarfaraz.

    He also acknowledged that the support shown in the last two matches by the roaring fans in the stands bolstered the team's resolve.

    "The most valuable and priceless thing for this side has been the unwavering support of its fans. If Lord’s was 80 per cent green, Edgbaston was close to 100pc. It’s the much-needed support of the fans that continues to drive and motivate us to perform better," he said.

    "As such, the support and appreciation from the stands and all around the globe were the additional factors that contributed to our last two wins."

    Regarding the upcoming matches for Pakistan, the skipper said that the team was focused on winning one game at a time.

    "Now our focus is on the next match against Afghanistan and then we will think about Bangladesh. Afghanistan is a dangerous side with quality spinners, so we will not take them lightly and will have to go at our full strength," he said.

    In the end, he gave his two cents on the 1992-2019 parallels theory, saying: "There has been so much talk about similarities between the 1992 World Cup and this one. We wish these similarities only culminate on July 14 at Lord’s, but we have to keep our feet on ground and keep faith in God Almighty."a

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