The way captain & coach supported the whole Team after defeat against India it’s exceptional Iftikhar Ahmed
Pakistan can afford no slip-ups after coming out on the wrong side of their opening match against India, so the pressure will be on when they face Zimbabwe in Perth on Thursday.
The nature of the loss to India was tough for Pakistan to take, and leaves them alongside Netherlands on zero points after the opening round of matches.
Prior to the tournament it would have been South Africa who Pakistan eyed as their other biggest qualification rivals, along with their neighbours. But Bangladesh’s winning start and the emergence of Zimbabwe as a well-rounded threat means there is plenty for Babar Azam’s side to be wary of in Group 2.
Bouncing back from disappointment will be key for Pakistan, and Iftikhar Ahmed told reporters that the leadership figures in the squad have been keen to stress that it’s not the time to dwell.
“The way the captain, the coach supported the whole squad, they were exceptional,” he said. “And the message is clear that was the first game, now time to move forward.”
Zimbabwe made it through to the Super 12 stage partly thanks to a strong and pacy bowling attack, a group of players who should thrive on the bouncy service in Perth.
Richard Ngarava is a doubt after his injury in the rain-interrupted fixture against South Africa, but captain Craig Ervine is hopeful that his big fast bowler can make an appearance.
“I think he’s doing all right,” Ervine said. “Even after today’s training session, the game only starts at seven tomorrow. It’s quite a bit of time for him to recover and hopefully it’s not too serious.”
A loss for either side in this fixture would leave them needing a remarkable turnaround to secure a final-four spot
Predicted Playing XIs
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Afridi
Zimbabwe: Craig Ervine (c), Regis Chakabva (wk), Wesley Madhevere, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Richard Ngarava, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani