KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has appreciated the green shirts after the team outclassed the England team and won the first T20 match by 31 runs at Trent Bridge despite a blistering hundred from Liam Livingstone.
Skipper Babar Azam led from the front scoring 85 runs and shared an opening stand of 150 with Mohammad Rizwan in a national record T20 total of 232-6.
“It was a delight to see Pakistan batsmen playing in true T20 style, great combined effort,” an elated Afridi tweeted Saturday.
He added: “Bowling and fielding did great under real pressure. Top work Shaheen, Hasnain, Shadab.”
Afridi had earlier urged the fans to support the team after they lost ODI series 3-0 against the “B-grade” England squad.
“At present, the players representing the Pakistan national team are the best we have in terms of talent and ability. These players have performed consistently in recent times. In fact, some of them have been performing for a considerable time period. These are our best players, they are the ones whose talent we have to utilize,” he had said in a video statement.
On Friday, the Men in Green kept calm amid Livingstone’s 42-ball century, England’s quickest in a T20 international and the fifth fastest of all-time, that gave the hosts a little hope of turning the table.
Yet it wasn’t enough to prevent Pakistan going 1-0 up in this three-match series, with England bowled out for 201 after player of the match Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan took three wickets apiece.
“Everyone took part in today’s win,” said Azam following Pakistan’s first victory of the tour after a 3-0 reverse in a one-day international series.
“After mine and Rizwan’s partnership all the batsmen came and performed their roles and we got a brilliant total.
“We want to carry on the momentum on to the next game and take the positives from today,” he added.
Azam, fresh from a superb hundred in the third ODI at Edgbaston on Tuesday, faced just 49 balls as he and Rizwan took a toll of an experimental England attack.
The skipper was in typically elegant form while hitting eight fours and three sixes before he was caught behind off David Willey.
Fast bowler Afridi took a brilliant caught and bowled to dismiss opener Dawid Malan on his way to 3-30.
Roy’s rapid 32 kept England in the hunt before Livingstone, looking to establish himself in the England set-up, found his range with consecutive sixes off leg-spinner Khan.
Livingstone needed just 17 balls for his fifty.
Morgan then fell cheaply to leave England looking to Livingstone.
The Lancashire all-rounder went to his hundred in style with a six before Khan had him caught in the deep.
England’s tail now had too much to do and Afridi ended the match when he bowled Matt Parkinson with four balls left in the game.
The series continues at Headingley on Sunday.