Pakistan overpowered their hosts Scotland, to win the two-match t20 series. The two victories, in back-to-back matches at Edinburgh, were achieved without much fuss, it seems. The timing of the win, was quite good on two accounts. Firstly it is always a good feeling to finish a tour on a winning note and secondly the last match of the tour concluded two days prior to Eid-ul-Fitr, the Islamic festival, celebrated at the end of fasting month of Ramadhan. The squad can now disperse to be with their family and friends for this occasion.
On Tuesday, in the first of the two matches, Pakistan gained a comfortable 48-run victory. Batting first, their score of 204-4 proved well beyond the spirited reply of their hosts. The main feature of Pakistan’s match-winning total was skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s unbeaten 89 off 49 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes, batting at number four. He was an easy choice for Player of the Match award. A welcome return to form, for on the entire tour of Ireland, England and Scotland, he had looked, out of sorts with the bat.
In the second half of Pakistan innings, Sarfraz was outscored by Shoaib Malik, whose 53 off just 27 balls, included 5sixes, down the ground. Perhaps the only player to have made his international debut in the 20th century, Shoaib, in full flow is a treat to watch. Besides being the senior most player in the Pakistan squad and aged 36, he is also its fittest. At the outset of his career, he was a bowling all-rounder but soon his batting potential convinced the selectors to include him as a front-line batsman, who could bowl if required. It is somewhat unfortunate that he has not won enough matches with either bat or ball to be ranked among the elite all-rounders.
The second game too fell into a same pattern as yesterday with the tourists winning the toss and posting a match-winning total. Though Pakistan’s total of 166-6 was a touch below par by their high standards, it nevertheless proved, a steep mountain to climb for Scotland. Poor running cost them three wickets as they were skittled out for 82 in 14.4 overs, in a rather feeble batting display. For the second day running, Pakistan owed its success to Shoaib Malik, who smashed an unbeaten 49 off 22 balls with a four and 5 sixes. The Scotland bowlers failed to check the scoring rate at crucial stages of the match. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with figures of 3-5 off 2.4 overs but Player of the Match was awarded to pace man Usman Khan, who sent back both openers inside the third over of the Scotland innings.
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