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’40 years young’: Shoaib Malik earns plaudits for blistering knock as Pakistan are semis-bound – Sport

Famous names from political and social arena congratulate the team and the veteran all-rounder for their win over Scotland.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik scored blistering half-centuries as the 2009 World Twenty20 champions eased past Scotland by 72 runs on Sunday night to seal the top spot in Group II and set up a semi-final meeting with Australia.

Azam led from the front with a 47-ball 66 before Malik put the Scots to the sword with a 18-ball 54 dotted by six hits over the ropes. Malik’s 50 was the joint-fastest of World Cup 2021 alongside KL Rahul’s, also against Scotland.

Big names from the political and sports arenas praised the performance of the team, with special mentions reserved for Malik’s knock.

The Prime Minister Office (PMO) said the whole nation was proud of the team and wished them luck for the semi-final.

“God willing it’s coming home!” the PMO tweeted.

President Dr Arif Alvi, meanwhile, enjoyed that winning was fast becoming second nature for the Pakistan team.

“Two more performances to go. Keep up your brilliance and you will come home [as] winners,” he advised the team.

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ramiz Raja termed Sunday’s game as another “impressive all-round show” and said the five-match unbeaten streak was an “incredible effort”.

Planning Minister Asad Umar singled out Malik and Hafeez for praise, saying that it was great to see senior team members like them delivering.

“They can boycott us, conspire against us, give us a biased schedule of play, in fact, they can do their damndest but Pakistan’s will to compete in international cricket will not be defeated!

“Today we stand vindicated as the only undefeated team so far,” Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tweeted on a particularly passionate note.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid congratulated the team and wished them luck in their match against Australia.

The sports fraternity was near unanimous in its effusive praise of Malik’s performance, with former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar tweeting a succinct message: “Shoaib Malik, 40 years young & blistering!”

General manager for Islamabad United, Rehan Ulhaq said credit must be given where it was due, adding that it was plain to see why Malik was wanted in the squad.

Veteran pacer Wahab Riaz said Malik’s performance was “magnificent”.

Opening batsman Ahmad Shahzad deemed it “top-class batting”.

“Tremendous” was the word used by former spinner Saeed Ajmal to describe Malik’s showing.

Former Pakistan women’s captain Sana Mir congratulated the whole nation for the victory.

Praise for the Pakistan team also came in from across the border, with Indian cricket journalist Vikrant Gupta saying that the performance was “incredible” for a side that had seen two key home series cancelled just prior to the tournament.

Header image: Babar Azam (C) celebrates with teammate Shadab Khan after the dismissal of Scotland’s George Munsey during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Pakistan and Scotland at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah, UAE on November 7, 2021.

Additional input from Reuters.



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