After winning the fifth and final Twenty20 International by 42 runs on Sunday, Pakistan skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi said that it was “very important” for his side to avoid a series whitewash over New Zealand.
The Black Caps capitulated for 92 in the face of some superb Pakistan spin bowling, despite being fancied to chase down the visitors’ 134-8.
Pakistan lost the five-game series 4-1, but Shaheen was glad that his maiden time as captain finished on a high note, despite being outplayed in the first four games.
He said that the series was largely seen as an opportunity to prepare for the T20 World Cup in June, but that losing five out of five would have been a setback.
“Today’s game was really significant to us. “We needed that as a unit to move forward,” Shaheen said.
“There were a lot of breakdowns in the first four games, as a defensive unit and as a hitting unit, but I believe we performed as a team today, and we needed the victory.
“No team finds it simple to come here. And I believe our focus is on the World Cup. We’re simply looking for every available space for each player and giving young players opportunities.”
New Zealand was without three first-choice batters: Kane Williamson (knee injury), Devon Conway (Covid-19), and Daryl Mitchell (rest). According to Captain Mitchell Santner, their shaky pursue highlighted certain vulnerabilities.
“We’ve looked pretty good batting first and defending but, looking at today, we may need a bit of work chasing,” the batsman remarked.
“In a pursuit like that, we spoke about going as deep as possible, but we didn’t.
“Overall, a really solid series. There were positive signals, with various players stepping up at different periods, which is what you want.”