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T20 World Cup: Babar Azam’s knock criticised by Harsha Bhogle, Irfan Pathan

Babar Azam (C) plays in T20 World Cup 2024 against USA, Harsha Bhogle (L) gestures during commentary and Irfan Pathan (R) speaks during interview. — AFP/X/Twitter

Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s knock in the T20 World Cup 2024 match against the USA received criticism by well-known commentator Harsha Bhogle and former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan on Thursday.

The match played at the Grand Prairie Stadium, Dallas.

At a strike rate of 102.32, the 29-year-old made 43-ball 44. In addition, while hitting two sixes and three fours, Azam played 19 dot balls.

Pathan, in his post on X, formerly known as Twitter, said that Azam’s knock didn’t help the team’s cause.

“On a fairly decent batting condition as a captain if you are playing 40+ ball innings with 100 strike rate. You aren’t helping your team cause,” Pathan wrote.

On the other hand, Bhogle noted that Babar was out of rhythm on a good batting surface.

“I have seen Babar Azam play many fine innings. This 44(43) won’t be among them. On a decent surface, he looked strangely out of rhythm,” Bhogle wrote.

In their first match of the competition, Pakistan set a 160-run target for the United States of America (USA).

Notably, the USA had a brilliant start with the ball as their bowlers sent the Pakistani top-order — Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Khan and Fakhar Zaman — back to the pavilion for just 26 runs.

However, skipper Babar Azam and Shadab Khan played with caution and put the struggling Pakistani side back in the game, after losing three wickets.

A 72-run partnership between Babar and Shadab assisted Pakistan reach on top once again but after scoring 40 runs on 25 balls, Shadab walked back to the pavilion.

Moreover, wicketkeeper batter Azam Khan got out on a golden duck right after Shadab’s dismissal and the wickets continued to fall.

Shaheen Afridi (23 off 16 balls) provided crucial runs to Pakistan down the order and helped them conclude their innings at 159-7 in the allocated overs.

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