“Wouldn’t be surprised if Afghanistan upset Pakistan in T20 matches” - Ramiz Raja

Hazratullah Zazai. Pic: Peshawar Zalmi
Hazratullah Zazai. Pic: Peshawar Zalmi

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja, in a bold confession, has claimed that he wouldn’t be surprised if Afghanistan stun Pakistan if T20 matches are held between the two nations.

Raja has been mighty impressed with the performances of Afghanistan cricketers like Hazratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran and Rashid Khan in PSL 2021.

Zazai was named man of the match as Peshawar Zalmi defeated Islamabad United by eight wickets in Eliminator 2 of PSL 2021 on Tuesday to book their place in the final against Multan Sultans. Zazai hammered 66 in 44 balls with the aid of six fours and four sixes.

Hailing the attacking Afghanistan opener, Raja said on his YouTube channel:

“Pakistani fans had not seen a lot of Zazai before. There are a few more players like him in the Afghanistan team. Islamabad United had three T20 players, who are in the current Pakistan team. They bowled to Zazai, including Shadab Khan, who is the vice-captain of the Pakistan T20 team. But, none of them could make any impact on Zazai, who has raw talent and ability. His temperament is really strong. This is the attitude that makes Afghanistan a dangerous side. I wouldn’t be surprised if Afghanistan upset Pakistan if two T20 matches are played between the two teams.”

Zazai had earlier scored scored 77 off 38 balls in Eliminator 1 against Karachi Kings and 63 off 26 deliveries versus the same opponent in the league stage. He was named man of the match on both occasions.

Pakistan need to find out why they cannot produce players like Afghanistan's Zazai: Ramiz Raja

According to Raja, Afghanistan have always been strong in the bowling department, and now their batting is also coming together very well. Hailing Afghanistan’s rise as a cricketing nation, Raja went on to question why Pakistan have failed to produce Zazai-like players.

He stated:

"Afghanistan have very good spinners, they have experience in Rashid Khan, and a lot of very good talent. They looked slightly weak in the batting department. But, if Zazai continues to play this way (things could change). They also have (Najibullah) Zadran. We have seen how nicely he had anchored the innings in the middle-order during the PSL itself. Pakistan should hear the danger bells ringing. They need to find out why they cannot produce players like Zazai, who can stand up and deliver under pressure. They need to introspect.”

Zazai will be seen in action when Peshawar Zalmi take on Multan Sultans in the PSL 2021 final on Thursday, June 24 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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