T20 World Cup: Feel Pakistan should make the final; conditions will suit them, says Shahid Afridi

Dubai, May 25 (IANS): Pakistan’s former all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes the Babar Azam-led side can make it to the final of the upcoming 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup, citing that the conditions for the mega event in the West Indies and the USA can suit the team.

Pakistan won the Men’s T20 World Cup in 2009 in England under Younis Khan’s leadership. They also have two runners-up finishes in the 2007 and 2022 editions of the showpiece event, apart from reaching the last-four stage in 2010, 2012, and 2021, respectively.

"I feel Pakistan should make the final. The reason is that the conditions (in the West Indies and the USA) suit our team. If we look at the spinners in our team, they are outstanding. They might not be in form but I know they will return in form. If we talk about fast bowling, it’s an incredible attack. In batting, we have great strength,” said Afridi to ICC.

He’s also left excited by what Pakistan’s fast-bowling line-up can achieve in the T20 World Cup. Left-arm fast-bowler Shaheen Afridi will spearhead the Pakistan pace attack alongside Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Abbas Afridi and Mohammad Amir.

"I think in any cricket team in the world, nobody has such a strong bowling line-up. All our four fast bowlers have a lot of skill and even the bowlers sitting on the bench like Abbas (Afridi)...has a lot of skill with a good slower ball."

“If the players with such good skills enter this World Cup against world-class batters they will perform well. All the names will also have a huge responsibility over them," he added.

Afridi also wishes to see Pakistan’s batting line-up have a higher strike rate in the competition. "The thing that bothers me is the strike rate of our batters, especially in between the seven to thirteen over phase. I hope that the strike rate improves in that phase. In terms of runs per over, eight or nine runs per over are needed but still Pakistan are my favourite."

Afridi was reluctant to single out one player who would hold the key to Pakistan’s chances in the tournament. At the same time, he wished to see Babar leading the side from the front in his return to the role as the Pakistan captain.

"All players in the team are important. But if you look at the performances in the recent past, Babar (Azam). (Mohammad) Rizwan, Fakhar (Zaman), Shaheen (Afridi), Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shadab (Khan) - all of them play an important role and will be key (for Pakistan) at the World Cup.”

"But if I had to pick one, I would pick the captain Babar Azam, because he is the leader. I want him to perform well, and make timely decisions which will take the team to victory," he concluded.



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Title: T20 World Cup: Feel Pakistan should make the final; conditions will suit them, says Shahid Afridi

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