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'We were a bit rusty' - Shadab Khan bemoans Pakistan's top-order collapse
Pakistan News

'We were a bit rusty' - Shadab Khan bemoans Pakistan's top-order collapse

Pakistan suffered an abject top-order capitulation that eventually prevented them from posting competitive score on a flat Eden Park surface in the first T20I against New Zealand.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Pakistan's plans of getting off to an aggressive start immediately went awry as debutant Jacob Duffy ripped through the tourists' top-order alongside Scott Kuggeleijn.

Pakistan skipper Shadab Khan expressed disappointment at his side's inefficient batting effort but pointed out the team was plagued by a serious lack of preparation heading into the T20I series.

"It's hard luck for us, we tried our best but maybe we were a little rusty because we didn't play for a couple of weeks," Shadab said following his team's five-wicket defeat. "Now we have the experience of international games so we will do better in the next matches."

Pakistan failed to receive an exemption to train during managed isolation after six positive Covid-19 cases were detected in the touring contingent and several squad members were found to have breached coronavirus protocols.

The revocation of the training privileges despite PCB's appeals meant Pakistan spent two weeks of mandatory quarantine without access to professional facilities ahead of travel for the T20Is.

"The conditions here are different from Pakistan, we have a young team who will learn quickly," Shadab noted.

"We did a good job to post 153/9 from 20/4 but we were ultimately 20 runs short. They [the players] have done well in the National T20 Cup and played well in the Zimbabwe series but the conditions are different since we played at home, not New Zealand. But the more they play, they will improve."

Duffy was the chief destroyer of Pakistan's line-up in the Powerplay as he mixed up his lengths to snaffle three quick scalps and later returned to prise out Shadab whilst the all-rounder was targeting a death overs onslaught.

"Jacob Duffy bowled very well, he was exceptional in the first spell and if you collapse in the first Powerplay, it is quite difficult to make a comeback," Shadab lamented.

Pakistan were bound to find it tough to battle unperturbed without the services of the injured Babar Azam but Shadab also acknowledged the absence of the freewheeling Fakhar Zaman hurting the team.

"Definitely we miss Babar because he plays the anchor role so well across the 20 overs. Fakhar [Zaman] generally goes bang in the Powerplay and he's not here either but it is a good opportunity for the youngsters to step up."

Faheem Ashraf's long-awaited batting rejuvenation marked by three towering sixes was one of the silver linings for Pakistan in the T20I contest. Shadab praised Faheem's batting performance and focused on the importance of having a capable seam-bowling all-rounder in the team.

"Yes, the way Faheem Ashraf played, we are in dire need of an [seam-bowling] all-rounder in white-ball cricket. He had been bowling well in the past as well but was not excelling with the bat but today, he showed his calibre," Shadab commented.

"He has usually topped the wicket-taking charts and is greatly helpful to the team by adding depth to the squad."