BIRMINGHAM: Former captain Wasim Akram says Pakistan outclassed New Zealand in all three departments of the game in their World Cup clash at Edgbaston on Wednesday and that the team now has a realistic chance of being in top four.
Speaking to Geo in Birmingham after Pakistan’s remarkable victory, Akram said the team deserved praise for the way they won the game against New Zealand.
“They must be given credit for such an outstanding performance,” Akram said. “They were in a commanding position since the first ball of the match, they bowled well, batted well and fielding was good too.”
The 53-year-old also praised Shaheen Shah Afridi for his superb bowling in the game.
“He bowled an exciting spell, great line and length. He is back with a bang,” Akram said.
“He should not have been dropped from the team. He is a genuine wicket-taking bowler from the new ball,” the former captain added.
Responding to another question, Wasim said that knowing Pakistan’s poor record of chasing, he got a bit afraid when he saw New Zealand posting 237, however, the Pakistani batsman played really well and ended it positively.
Akram, however, seemed unhappy with the way Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez got out.
“You don’t try to take all runs in start off a part-timer. You need to be calm instead of misreading the delivery,” Akram said regarding Hafeez’s dismissal adding that Zaman needs to be more mature with his shot selection.
Akram was also full of praise for young Babar Azam who smashed an unbeaten century to help Pakistan reach the target comfortably.
“Babar has proved that he is among the top batsmen of the world. Haris [Sohail] is also great but he needs to improve his physical fitness if he wants to be among top-class batsmen of the world,” Akram said.
He expressed that Pakistan now has a real chance of qualifying for the final four and England can be in danger zone, but added that the men in green shouldn’t be complacent about weaker oppositions.
“Afghanistan has nothing to lose so they will go all out. Bangladesh is no more a minnow so they can pose a threat to Pakistan as well. So, they [Pakistan] will have to be at best. It will be interesting to see how England would proceed with its remaining games against India and New Zealand,” Akram added.