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Babar Azam Praises “Heroes” Abdullah Shafique And Mohammad Rizwan For World Cup Masterclass

Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, commended the outstanding performances of Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan, hailing their brilliant centuries that propelled Pakistan to achieve the highest-ever run chase in the history of the ODI World Cup against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan secured its second consecutive victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, defeating Sri Lanka by six wickets in a thrilling contest in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Batsmen Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique both notched centuries in this record-setting run chase.

Facing a daunting target of 345 runs, set up by Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama’s impressive centuries that placed Sri Lanka in a commanding position, the 1992 World Cup champions successfully reached the target in 48.2 overs, with Rizwan scoring an unbeaten 131 and Abdullah contributing 113.

Kusal Mendis earlier dominated Pakistan’s bowlers, amassing 122 runs with 14 boundaries and six sixes, while Samarawickrama played an anchoring role, compiling 108 runs as Sri Lanka posted a total of 344-9 in their allotted 50 overs. However, they were curtailed toward the end by Hasan Ali, who claimed four wickets for 71 runs, and Haris Rauf, who took two wickets for 64 runs.

Babar Azam Praised The Collective Team Effort

Babar Azam praised the collective effort of the team, particularly highlighting the exceptional performances of Abdullah and Rizwan. He acknowledged that the team didn’t have the best start in the initial 20-30 overs but commended the remarkable innings played by Kusal Mendis. Speaking during the post-match presentation, Azam emphasized that the bowlers played a crucial role in their victory.

“All credit to the boys, especially Abdullah and Rizwan, for the way they built the pressure and put pressure on Sri Lanka. We weren’t up to the mark in the first 20-30 overs. All credit to Mendis, he played an outstanding knock,” Babar Azam said in the post-match presentation ceremony.

Babar Azam also expressed his satisfaction with Abdullah Shafique’s outstanding performance, especially in his debut World Cup appearance. He noted Shafique’s determination, which he had observed during their practice sessions, and that influenced his decision to include Shafique in the playing XI.

“We finished well, all credit to the bowlers. (On Shafique) Very happy with the way he’s playing. This is his first World Cup. His hunger to play, I saw him in the nets so I decided to play him. The way Rizwan and Abdullah built the partnership, they helped us. We believed and built partnerships,” Babar added.

Babar Azam also appreciated the fact that others stepped up to secure the victory, particularly when the top order had been facing some challenges. He expressed gratitude to the supportive crowd and praised the pitch preparation by the curators.

Pakistan will now face India on 14th October at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. They have never defeated India in ODI World Cups and will look to change this record on Saturday.

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