x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Pakistan success means Afridi in pole position for World Cup captaincy

Shahid Afridi looks set to be named Pakistan's captain at the World Cup after leading them to their first series win in more than two years.

Pakistan are set to name their captain for the World Cup tomorrow and Shahid Afridi enhanced his claims by leading his side to a series win over New Zealand.

The 41-run win ensured a 3-1 series victory and leaves Pakistan in fine shape ahead of the World Cup, which starts on February 19.

Moin Khan, the former captain believes, Afridi should be the man to lead Pakistan in the subcontinent where they will be pitched against Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya in Group A.

Moin said Afridi "deserves to get the World Cup captaincy as a reward" because the win over New Zealand was Pakistan's first one-day series victory since beating the West Indies in November 2008.

Afridi led by example with the ball, picking up two wickets alongside Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul - who took three and two respectively - to trigger New Zealand's collapse from 131 for three to 227 all out.

Earlier, Ahmed Shehzad had provided the backbone of Pakistan's total of 268 for nine with a blistering 115 off 109 balls - his maiden one-day international century.

"Ahmed Shehzad, what a talent he is," Afridi said. "But yes, given the way that we were playing, I expected us to reach 300, 300-plus but in the middle, the wicket became a bit slow, and they bowled very well towards the end."

Ross Taylor, New Zealand's stand-in captain, praised his bowlers for curbing the flow of runs, but admitted the batting left plenty to be desired.

The hosts lost their last five wickets for 35 after Martin Guptill (65) and Taylor (69) had given the home crowd hope of an unlikely victory.