Former Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan heaped praise on Pakistan's Shoaib Malik after the all-rounder struck a crucial 20-ball 26* to guide his side to victory against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup.
Pakistan were precariously placed at 87/5 after 14.5 overs in pursuit of 135 runs when Shoaib Malik joined Asif Ali at the crease. The two Pakistani batters added 48 runs for the sixth wicket and guided their team home in the 19th over.
Speaking on Cricbuzz Live Hindi, Zaheer Khan pointed out how Shoaib Malik proved that the selectors' decision to recall him to the T20I squad for the mega event was correct.
"Fans often ask why are senior players like Shoaib Malik still playing. They are here for this reason only. They know how to absorb pressure in situations like these. They will not be impatient, and in pressure situations, patience is the most important thing. I think Shoaib Malik was a last-minute addition to the squad. He proved the selectors right today," said Zaheer Khan.
Shoaib Malik was not initially picked in the Pakistan squad for T20 World Cup 2021, but was roped in as an injury replacement for Sohaib Maqsood.
During the show, Zaheer Khan also praised Pakistan captain Babar Azam after his team recorded victories in their first two games of T20 World Cup 2021.
"Babar Azam is calm and composed. In the past, we used to say Pakistan is an unpredictable team, but I think Babar is showing a new direction to Pakistan cricket now," Zaheer added.
New Zealand missed Lockie Ferguson in T20 World Cup match against Pakistan: Ashish Nehra
Ashish Nehra was present alongside Zaheer Khan in the post-match show, and the former left-arm seamer said the Blackcaps missed Lockie Ferguson in the death overs against Pakistan. Nehra praised Tim Southee for his bowling in the powerplay but added that Ferguson was a better death bowler.
"Tim Southee conceded two sixes in the death overs, but he bowled really well in the powerplay. You can say in hindsight that New Zealand missed Lockie Ferguson, but again, you cannot deny that he is the better bowler when it comes to bowling in the final overs. He has the yorker and has more pace than Southee," Ashish Nehra said.
Adam Milne has replaced Lockie Ferguson in New Zealand's T20 World Cup squad and it will be interesting to see if he plays against India on Sunday.