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T20 World Cup: Heart beats for Australia but I love being part of this Pakistan team, says Hayden

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Dubai, Nov 11 (IANS) Pakistan batting consultant Matthew Hayden said that although his heart will always beat for his native Australia, he loves being a part of the dressing room with Babar Azam and Co.

He was in praise of wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, who scored 67 off 52 balls despite being at the hospital yesterday due to a lung condition.

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“It’s a conflict of interest obviously, because my heart always beats for Australia. But I love being part of this Pakistan team, they’re exceptional, and tonight they’ve been brilliant. Rizwan was in hospital yesterday, suffering with some sort of lung condition. But he was fit to play today. This is a warrior. He’s been brilliant through this tournament and he showed exceptional bravery,” said Hayden in the mid-innings chat with the broadcasters.

A day before the match, Hayden had said in the pre-match press conference that one shouldn’t be surprised if Fakhar Zaman comes good in the semi-final against Australia. His words came true as Zaman played a crucial hand in Pakistan making 176/4 in 20 overs, remaining unbeaten at 55 off just 32 balls with three fours and four sixes.

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“Fakhar, has I think been the standout outfielder for our team, as well. He saves literally five to ten runs every game, and five to ten runs within a T20 concept and batting lineup, include your own runs maybe 20s and 30s here and there, means that overall, he’s just been such an important part of the side. Don’t be surprised if you see something incredibly special from him tomorrow, as well, because he is smashing the ball in the nets,” Hayden had said while replying to a question from IANS.

“Fakhar is a very interesting personality and character, and the longer that I spend time with him, the more that I really enjoy his personality and character. The fact that he was in the Navy for seven years gives you a pretty strong indication of his ability to be able to fight and fight hard. Not only just from a batting perspective but the contribution within a T20 setup is that you have to be as a general policy a two-dimensional player.”

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“Already I think he’s contributed nicely. Yet to star like some of the others, and that’s the great benefit of having an in-form batting lineup. Bear in mind, unlike Test cricket, T20 cricket is just about impact. We’ve seen Asif come in and smash 24 runs against New Zealand to win you a game, and if you look at his overall stats, you’d go, is he impressive in this tournament or not? But that’s not T20 cricket. Making an impact is significant, and Fakhar is certainly one of those that can do that tomorrow.”

–IANS

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