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‘Did Pakistan Miss the Trick?’: Shahid Afridi Slams Babar Azam’s Men For Collapse in Must-win Game vs Sri Lanka

Shahid Afridi slams Pakistan for batting order choices in must-win clash against Sri Lanka. (AP Image)

Shahid Afridi slams Pakistan for batting order choices in must-win clash against Sri Lanka. (AP Image)

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi lashed out at Babar Azam-led unit after they suffered a batting collapse during the must-win clash against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup

Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi was not happy with the batting order changes made by the management during the must-win Asia Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka. It was a virtual-semifinal clash between the two co-hosts of the tournament, however, having won the toss on a rain-curtailed day Babar Azam chose to bat first in a surprising call.

Injuries forced Babar to make as many as five changes to the playing XI which suffered a colossal 228-run defeat to India, their heaviest defeat to the Men in Blue in ODI cricket.

For a must-win game to reach the Asia Cup 2023 final against India on September 17, Pakistan’s batting order didn’t get off to a positive start as Fakhar Zaman was dismissed early. Abdullah Shafique smashed a half-century but lacked support from other batters as the Men in Green slumped to 130/5 at one stage.

Live Score Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Asia Cup 2023

Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed bailed out their side later with a 108-run partnership but the changes in the batting order didn’t impress Afridi.

The star all-rounder took to social media and made his frustrations clear saying that it wasn’t the best batting order for Pakistan and suggested they perhaps ‘missed the trick’.

“Did Pakistan miss the trick? We could have made better choices in the batting order. What do you guys think? In my opinion this was not the best batting order according to the situation. @Asiacup2023,” wrote Afridi on X (formerly Twitter).

Perhaps Afridi felt that Shadab Khan could have been promoted ahead of Iftikhar Ahmed however, the veteran ended up smashing a 46-run knock as he supported Rizwan very well who returned unbeaten with a crucial knock of 86, helping Pakistan score 252/7 in 42 overs.

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Earlier, multiple spells of rain had seen the match reduced to 42 overs per side.  Pakistan resumed play on 130/5 after 27.4 overs, and from there onwards Rizwan and Iftikhar’s partnership completely changed the momentum in the favour of their side.

Shadab did get his chance to bat failing to impress as he was dismissed on 3 courtesy of a flying one-handed catch from Kusal Mendis with Matheesha Pathirana getting 3 wickets to his name, but Rizwan’s unbeaten fifty helped Pakistan reach a competitive total in a must-win game.

Sri Lanka were subsequently given a DLS revised target of 252 which they needed to chase in 252 balls, and even though the defending champions started with a bang, Shadab played a hand in two dismissals as Dasun Shanaka’s men set out to complete the chase.

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