Umar Gul Sees Babar Azam’s Performance as a Positive Influence on the Team

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Umar Gul Sees Babar Azam's Performance as a Positive Influence on the Team
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Pakistan’s bowling coach, Umar Gul, addressed the media in a press conference following the first T20I against New Zealand, where the visitors suffered a 46-run defeat at Eden Park, Auckland, on Friday.

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Gul shared insights on Babar Azam’s performance during the chase of the 227-run target, emphasizing that the 29-year-old would gain much-needed confidence from today’s display.

“Babar is undoubtedly our top player and among the best globally. Despite not being out of form in the last series, luck wasn’t in his favor, resulting in scores of 30-40 runs. We anticipated a big innings, possibly a century, but unfortunately, it didn’t materialize,” Gul expressed during the presser.

Discussing Babar’s performance in the recent match, Gul highlighted the positive signs in terms of strike rate and batting approach. He asserted that Babar’s regained confidence would be beneficial for both him and the team.

It’s noteworthy that Shaheen Afridi’s initial stint as the shortest-format captain didn’t go as planned. Despite a promising start from Saim Ayub, scoring 27 off just 8 balls, Pakistan faced a setback in their chase, unable to convert it into a victory.

Azam emerged as the top-scorer for Pakistan, contributing 57 runs off 35 balls, but it fell short of the formidable target set by the Black Caps.

In the first innings, Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson showcased notable performances with scores of 57 and 61, respectively. Williamson, given a lifeline at 11 after being dropped by Babar Azam, capitalized on the opportunity, crafting a fantastic half-century.

Although the 33-year-old didn’t exhibit a massive strike rate (135.71), he created opportunities for aggressive players like Finn Allen (35 off 15) and Mitchell (61 off 27), boasting strike rates of 233 and 255, respectively.

Pakistan’s bowlers faced a tough challenge, with Abbas Afridi and Haris Rauf maintaining a decent economy of 8.50 each. Despite Afridi’s impactful start with a wicket in the first over, he struggled later, conceding 46 runs while securing three wickets.

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