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Pak vs Aus: Usman Khawaja says Australia eye scoring as many runs as they can in first innings

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  • “As many as you can,” Khawaja says about scoring in first innings.
  • “It will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes,” opener says.
  • Usman remained unbeaten with 127 from 266 deliveries on first day.

KARACHI: Australian batter Usman Khawaja said Saturday his side would like to score “as many [runs] as they can” during their first innings and have an upper hand on Pakistan.

Talking to journalists after the first day’s play, Khawaja termed Pakistan’s bowling tactic in the middle of the day as “negative” in the face of a hard-hitting Australian batting side.

“As many as you can,” Khawaja said while speaking to journalists via video link when he was asked how much Australia would like to post on the scoreboard during the first innings before letting Pakistan bat.

“It will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes. I think if we bat well enough tomorrow morning, we’ll have an opportunity to drive the game. I felt like Pakistan were in a perfect position last game but they just didn’t do it, they didn’t really take many opportunities to increase the run rate,” he said.

The opener said he was eyeing to take his side to 400 or 500 runs in the first innings, but noted that it was still a long shot as the current score was 251.

He mentioned that in the middle session of the first day, Pakistani spinners went a little bit “negative” to the legside, trying to slow the scoreboard.

“I don’t know if it backfired. And I think it’s pretty hard to bowl fast out there consistently. It’s very hot. So, I think spinners had to bowl in that sort of period,” he mentioned while discussing Pakistan’s strategy.

Usman remained unbeaten with 127 from 266 deliveries. Talking about his innings, the opening batter said that every century is special and it felt good when the crowd were chanting “Khawaja Khawaja”.

He also mentioned that he has relatives in Karachi and his relatives were present at the stadium when he scored the century.

“My family’s all from Karachi. I was born in Islamabad and my parents are from Karachi, so this one meant a lot too,” Usman said about his century at the National Stadium.

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Rain cancels out Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s opening Twenty20 international

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As the rain returned, Shaheen Shah Afridi’s expertly timed in-swinger to dismiss Tim Robinson left only a two-ball match going on at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

On-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza shook hands with the players and decided to call off the contest as soon as the rain started up again. Additionally, there was a thirty-minute delay in the planned fixture toss. Then, after winning the coin toss, Michael Bracewell, the captain of New Zealand, decided to bat first.

The players from both sides assembled shortly after for the national anthems, but more rain caused the proceedings to be postponed.

The match appeared likely to be called off before a ball was played due to the intensity of the second spell of rain. But after the rain stopped, the ground crew worked extremely hard, and the game might go into five overs.

The second game, which takes place at the same location on April 20, will pit the two teams against one another.

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Azhar Mahmood suggests that Babar Azam should also take a break.

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Azhar Mahmood stated during a Rawalpindi press conference that, depending on the circumstances, any player, including Babar Azam, might be substituted during the five-match series.

“We shall endeavor to choose the top 11 players available for each game, taking the circumstances into consideration, in accordance with policy,” he continued.

The team’s management hasn’t chosen the starting duo yet, according to Azhar Mahmood in response to a query. “Who will open the inning has not been decided upon yet. Saim-Rizwan, Babar-Saim, or even Fakhar Zaman may start the inning as the opening duo, he continued.

With an emphasis on the team’s strong makeup and tactical preparations for their forthcoming home series against New Zealand, the head coach also conveyed his confidence in his team’s ability.

The coach expressed his faith in the team’s makeup, saying that it consists of a mix of skilled batters, quick bowlers, and adaptable all-around players.

Imad Wasim, an all-rounder, and Mohammad Amir, a fast bowler, were among the returning veterans that Azhar Mahmood believed strengthened the team. His statement went like this: “Their return will definitely strengthen our team.”

In response to a query, he described the New Zealand players as potential stars and dismissed the idea that they were a “B Team” that had been sent to face Pakistan.

Their extensive domestic cricket expertise is shown by the date. No side is weak in T20 cricket, and they are their best player. “They’re playing Pakistan; this is the New Zealand team,” Azhar Mahmood continued.

Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, according to the head coach, is fully fit and eligible for the series beginning on April 18.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan

Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Wasim Jr.

New Zealand squad

Michael Bracewell (c), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), Ish Sodhi, Tom Blundell, Zak Foulkes.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series schedule

April 18 — 1st T20I, Rawalpindi

April 20 — 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 21 — 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 25 — 4th T20I, Lahore

April 27 — 5th T20I, Lahore

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Weather in Rawalpindi: PMD prediction for the Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is

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Rain is expected to have an impact on Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s five-match Twenty20 International series.

According to meteorological projections, the city is likely to have thunderstorms and rain starting tomorrow, and the rain is predicted to continue all week.

The series’ final two games are slated to take place in Lahore.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted a “rain-windstorm/thunderstorm with an isolated hailstorm” on April 18 throughout a number of Pakistani regions, including upper/southwest Sindh, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Islamabad, Punjab, and Balochistan.

On April 20, however, precipitation was predicted by the Met Office for KP, the nation’s capital, Punjab, northeastern Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The New Zealand team has already landed in Islamabad for an intriguing five-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, it should be mentioned.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series:

18 April: 1st T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm Pakistan Standard Time)
20 April: 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
21 April: 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
25 April: 4th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)
27 April: 5th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)

Pakistan squad:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, and Zaman Khan
Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, and Mohammad Wasim Jr

New Zealand squad:
Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Zak Foulkes, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), and Ish Sodhi

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