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Former Pakistan greats laud clinical victory over New Zealand

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ISLAMABAD: Several former Pakistan cricketers have praised the national team for their fabulous victory over New Zealand in the ICC T20 World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Overjoyed by the win in Sydney on Wednesday, former Test paceman Shoaib Akhtar says it looks like the 1992 mega event’s history is repeating itself, in the ongoing showpiece.

“New Zealand, you lost the semi-final in 1992, 1999 and 2022. A couple of mistakes were done by them which cost Kiwis the game. I want to congratulate Pakistan on the win,” an ecstatic Shoaib said in a video on his YouTube channel.

Imran Khan, the legendary all-rounder and 1992 World Cup-winning skipper, tweeted, “Congratulations to Babar Azam and the team for a great win.”

Imran (72) partnering batting maestro Javed Miandad (58) added an invaluable 139 runs for the third wicket to help Pakistan post a decent 249-6 against England in the 1992 final at the MCG. Pakistan won the all-important match by 22 runs to clinch the World Cup for the first time.

Shoaib, known as The Rawalpindi Express, said after Pakistan’s defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in the Super 12 stage he never felt Babar Azam and his men would qualify for the semi-finals.

“But it’s prayers of the whole Pakistani nation which did it. The Netherlands defeating South Africa paved the way for the greenshirts into the semi-final and team effort steered them to the World Cup final,” Shoaib, who produced man-of-the-match performance in the 1999 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Manchester, added.

The former speedster continued, “As a country and as a nation we have a habit of making comeback. Cricket teaches us the character of nations and Pakistan team has shown what the players and whole nation is capable of.”

“After the toss when New Zealand came in to bat they were trying to hit the ball but it wasn’t coming onto the bat. But it was bad captaincy on [the] part of New Zealand,” Shoaib, 47, reckoned.

“India are you ready? We have done it. The feel is just like of the 1992 World Cup! So let’s see,” he said.

The second T20 World Cup semi-final will be played between India and England at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

Meanwhile, tweets pour in from other former Pakistan greats after the national team’s victory in Sydney.

“Yay, clinical performance, congratulations to team Pakistan and of course to all Pakistanis. Now let’s enjoy the final,” Sultan of Swing Wasim Akram tweeted.

Waqar Younis, another iconic pacer, said, “Alhamdullilah. Congrats to the entire Nation. We are in the Finals.”

Former captain and hitter Shahid Afridi said, “Off to the Final! Our boys outclassed the Kiwis in all 3 departments’ spin fielding! And Babar led from the front we needed this! Mubarak to everyone.”

“Seems unreal but it’s Real. Final Pakistan Zindabad,” former all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez tweeted.

Saeed Ajmal, the off-spin bowling wizard, tweeted, “Pakistan into the finals. Congratulations Team Pakistan Great partnership by Babar and Rizwan, superb spell by Shaheen and an excellent finish by Haris!! All we needed to win this Match!! Congratulations Pakistan!”

“Shabaash boys, our team definitely knows how to win games and hearts,” Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz said.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2022


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