Fakhar Zaman has almost single-handedly revived Pakistan’s campaign in the World Cup 2023 and kept their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive. His thunderous knock against New Zealand prompted former India batsman Virender Sehwag to inquire which “brains” in the Pakistan team management decided to drop him for most of their league matches so far.
After Pakistan’s first match in the tournament, Fakhar Zaman was dropped after scoring 12 runs against the Netherlands. That was in a sequence of 11 innings in which he couldn’t go past 35.
Pakistan brought in Abdullah Shafique and he did well. But the top 4 of Shafique, Imam, Babar Azam, and Rizwan didn’t have any powerhouse batter who could take the game away in the powerplay itself. With Imam struggling, Fakhar Zaman came back in the side. He first whacked 81 runs in 74 balls against Bangladesh and then cracked one of the most sizzling World Cup centuries against New Zealand.
Chasing a target of 402 runs in Bangalore, Fakhar Zaman, after playing out 2 quiet overs at the start, went after the Kiwi bowling attack in a spectacular fashion. Zaman walloped 11 sixes and 8 fours in his crazy knock of 126* runs in 81 balls. At the other end, Babar Azam scored 66 runs in 63 balls.
Pakistan ended with 200/1 after 25.3 overs and then rain didn’t allow any more play. This score of Pakistan’s proved just enough to take a 21-run win via the DLS method. This incredible victory, despite conceding 400 runs, has kept Pakistan alive in the World Cup 2023 semi-final race.
Fakhar Zaman, by far Pakistan’s best batter: Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag took to Twitter to exalt Fakhar Zaman’s tremendous ball-hitting ability, hailing the southpaw as Pakistan’s best batsman in the tournament. For the unversed, Zaman alone has smashed 18 sixes in 3 innings while all Pakistani batters combined have hit 36 sixes in 8 games.
In his tweet, Sehwag also indirectly trolled Imam-ul-Haq, who had previously stated about wanting to eat more protein to hit sixes.
“What an innings by Fakhar Zaman, by far Pakistan’s best batter. Which brains kept him on the bench for the best part of the tournament, God knows. Protein ki bhi kami nahin, jajbe ki bhi,” Sehwag tweeted.