Afghanistan

Ramiz Raja, in a bold statement, has claimed that he wouldn’t be surprised if Afghanistan stun Pakistan if T20 matches are held between the two nations. The former Pakistan skipper 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. The one-time champions will now take on Multan Sultans in the final of the tournament on Thursday. The southpaw hammered 66 in 44 balls with the help of six fours and four sixes.

“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,” Raja said in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.

“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,” he added.

According to the 57-year-old, Afghanistan have always been strong in the bowling department, and now their batsmen are rising to the occasion. Highlighting their rise as a cricketing nation, Ramiz Raja went on to question why Pakistan have failed to produce players like Zazai.

“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,” he observed.

“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,” the cricketer-turned-commentator concluded.

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