ABU DHABI // Abdul Razzaq yesterday served notice he could be the man to fill the huge void left by the destructive batsman Shahid Afridi. The Pakistan Twenty20 team captain is serving a two-match ban after pleading guilty to ball tampering in the final one-day international against Australia last month. And Razzaq looks likely to be the man to fill the all-rounder's shoes when Pakistan play England in the first of two ODIs at the Dubai Sports City tomorrow.
Razzaq, who is also an all-rounder, smashed three sixes and two fours in his 39 not out off 17 balls, but it was not enough to prevent the senior side from losing by seven wickets to their 'A' team in a Twenty20 warm-up match at the Zayed Stadium. Pakistan are taking positives from the defeat and believe the result will help them sharpen up for the weekend ODIs. Pakistan made a modest 143 for eight after being put in to bat, and the 'A' team knocked off the runs for the loss of three wickets with three deliveries to spare.
Shoaib Malik scored 32 off 40 balls for the senior team but they struggled with the runs and their run-rate until Razzaq, who also bowled two overs for just seven runs, came to the crease at No 8. Mohammed Hafeez, the A-team captain, opened the bowling and took two for 21 from his four overs before also opening the batting and hitting 41 from 39 deliveries, including five fours and a six. He shared a second-wicket stand of 67 in 60 balls with Asad Shafiq, who had six fours and a six in his 48 off 42 balls.
Afridi, who will be available to face England in the second ODI on Saturday, played for the senior side but scored just 11 off 13 balls. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org