Rizwan emerging as new top gun of Pakistan cricket

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LAHORE: Former Test fast bowler Sarfaraz Nawaz said the manner of Pakistan’s Twenty20 series win over Zimbabwe exposed several weak areas in the side as the team looks ahead to the World Twenty20 in India later this year.

Pakistan won the three-match series 2-1 after beating the hosts by 24 runs in the final match on Sunday. Zimbabwe had stunned Pakistan in the second match of the series, winning it by 19 runs having lost the opener by 11 runs.

The second match saw Zimbabwe rout Pakistan for 99 as they claimed their first ever T20 victory against Pakistan.

It was a second successive series win for Pakistan, who had earlier beaten South Africa’s second-string side 3-1 earlier this month, but Sarfraz said the team remains inconsistent.

“It should’ve been a clean sweep against Zimbabwe,” Sarfraz reckoned. “The middle-order is wobbling continuously, which is a failure of the team management which includes two former batsmen in Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.

“You can’t win games against the big teams just relying on performances from openers [captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan]. You need a strong and dependable middle-order,” he added.

The 72-year-old pointed out that middle-order batsmen Haider Ali and Asif Ali weren’t good enough at international level while all-rounder Faheem Ashraf needed to “improve and show consistency”.

However, he praised speedster Hasan Ali for being “very good in the death overs”. “He’s always conceded runs in his first spell but in his second spell, he shows good control over reverse swing,” Sarfraz said of Hasan.

He added that Hasan’s fellow quick Shaheen Shah Afridi “needed to bowl better in the death overs”.