Why did Shaheen, Shadab not bowl in New Zealand warm-up match?

Pakistan will now play against Australia on October 3

Faizan Lakhani
Shadab Khan (L) and Shaheen Afridi (R) are two of the most important players in the Pakistan cricket team. —AFP/file
Shadab Khan (L) and Shaheen Afridi (R) are two of the most important players in the Pakistan cricket team. —AFP/file

KARACHI: Two main Pakistan bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan didn’t bowl on Friday in the first warm-up match of the ICC World Cup 2023 against New Zealand which Green Shirts lost by five wickets despite setting a huge target of 346.

Cricket fans and experts were amazed to see that these two were missing in action and raised concerns over it.

Geo News has learnt the reason why Shaheen and Shadab didn’t bowl as the New Zealand batters chased the 300-plus target in the 44th over.

According to sources, the duo wasn’t given the opportunity during the match “under a strategy” as the team management wanted to give more chances of match practice to other bowlers.

“The management has planned to test all the 15 members of the squad during the two warm-up matches differently,” the sources said.

It has been decided to “acclimatise” ahead of the tournament.

Match report

On Friday, Kiwis chased down the huge total of 345 to thrash Pakistan by five wickets in their opening warm-up encounter played at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

Chasing 346 for victory, New Zealand lost an early wicket before Ravindra Jadeja (97) and Kane Williamson (54) put on a 137-run stand to put their team on course and they achieved the target with 6.2 overs to spare.

Mohammed Rizwan hit 103 and Babar Azam made 80 in Pakistan’s 345-5 after electing to bat first but the Kiwi batsmen made the total look easy against an attack missing pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Williamson, who returned from a six-month lay-off due to his knee injury and played the match only as a batsman, looked impressive in his 50-ball stay before he retired out.

"It held up pretty good," Williamson, who will miss the tournament opener against England on October 5, said about his knee after the win.

"Little bit of icing after that (knock). But that´s part of the process. Fortunate with that recovery and being named in the squad was exciting to me."

Ravindra smashed the opposition bowlers to all parts of the ground as he hit 16 fours and one six but was denied a century by Agha Salman.

Pakistan spinner Usama Mir struck twice in the space of his two overs but Daryl Mitchell made 59 to keep the chase on track.

Left-hand batsmen Mark Chapman, who hit the winning six in his unbeaten 65, and James Neesham, who made 33, put on a partnership of 68 as New Zealand reached the target in 43.4 overs.

Earlier, Azam hit eight fours and two sixes before he fell to Mitchell Santner but Rizwan stayed on to complete his century in another key stand with Saud Shakeel, who made 75.

Rizwan struck nine fours and two sixes in his 94-ball innings and said: A "hundred is hundred in any conditions. I feel proud and satisfied."

The match, which along with other warm-ups was not an official one-day match, was played in an empty stadium due to a Hindu festival and security issues in the southern Indian city.