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Fakhar Zaman played his natural game, says Babar Azam


Pakistan captain Babar Azam has hailed recovery man Fakhar Zaman, saying the opener played a “natural game” against Bangladesh in their World Cup 2023 match in Kolkata on Tuesday.

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Fakhar, who previously missed five of Pakistan’s six matches with a knee injury, announced his return with a 74-ball 81, helping the Men in Green chase down 242 with seven wickets and 17.3 overs to spare. While Pakistan kept their semi-final hopes alive with the win, Bangladesh were all but eliminated from the World Cup.

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“Shout out to the boys for the way we played in all three divisions. We know, if Fakhar bats for 20-30 overs, it is another ball game, he played his natural game. It’s good to see him doing it,” Babar said after the match.

Babar hoped Pakistan’s win would give them confidence going into the final two series matches against New Zealand (November 4) and England (November 11).

“We hope this win will give us confidence in the upcoming games. Shaheen started well with the ball. After 15-20 overs, they built a partnership. But our bowlers hit the most. The main thing was that our bowlers hit good lengths and took wickets. Thanks to the fans for supporting me and my team,” Babar added.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan lamented his team’s disappointing performance with the bat, lamenting that his team’s top four batsmen had not got the desired runs.

“Not enough runs, the wicket was very good, we lost early wickets again. There were some partnerships, but not big partnerships. Disappointed with the bat. Credit should be given to Pakistan, the way they bowled and the way they fought in the first 10 overs,” said Shakib.

“We will have to think about that (Shakib’s batting position). We are not getting many runs from the top four batsmen. I was batting in the top four, I wasn’t scoring. My confidence was also low. Fortunately I got some runs, now a better version. At this moment, it’s hard to change too many things,” said the 36-year-old.

Shakib emphasized the importance of collective performance. “We have to perform together. We need a collective performance, which is not happening. Two more games, hopefully we can bounce back. Everywhere we go, they (fans) continue to support us. We have to give them something back so they can smile” said the super-conscious.

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