Terrorist attack in Pakistan puts Abu Dhabi ODI in doubt

Younis Khan says it may be a good idea to postpone fourth one-dayer against New Zealand.
Pakistani cricketers Umar Akmal, right, and Younis Khan attend a practice session on Tuesday. They may, however, not play in Wednesday’s ODI. Aamir Qureshi / AFP
Pakistani cricketers Umar Akmal, right, and Younis Khan attend a practice session on Tuesday. They may, however, not play in Wednesday’s ODI. Aamir Qureshi / AFP

ABU DHABI // Pakistan batsman Younis Khan on Tuesday said it would be difficult for the team to go ahead with the fourth one-day international against New Zealand on Wednesday after an attack at a Peshawar school in which at least 132 students and nine staff members were killed by Taliban gunmen.

“It is a national tragedy and a barbaric act. Playing the match is going to be very difficult,” Younis said. “How do you play a match when your spirit is not in the game?”

The middle-order batsman also hinted that “it would not be a bad idea” to postpone the match.

But even if the match is played on Wednesday, stand-in captain Shahid Afridi hopes Pakistan can maintain their momentum and seal the series.

The hosts lead the five-match series 2-1 after winning the first match in Dubai and the third in Sharjah. New Zealand won the second match, also in Sharjah.

Afridi, leading the side in the absence of Misbah-ul-Haq, who injured his hamstring and was ruled out of the last three games, said he wanted a strong finish from his side.

“The team has been playing here for the last three months and has played good cricket, so it should be a happy ending after the Test and T20 trophies were shared,” Afridi said on Tuesday.

Pakistan lost the only Twenty20 against Australia in October before being white-washed 3-0 by Australia in the one-day series, also played in the UAE. They then beat Australia 2-0 in Tests and squared the Twenty20 and Test series against New Zealand.

Pakistan were forced to send paceman Umar Gul and all-rounder Bilawal Bhatti home after both suffered injuries.

Afridi credited the team management for Pakistan’s 147-run win in the third match on Friday.

“I have not done any wonders,” said Afridi, who scored a 26-ball 55 and took three wickets in the last match. “I will give the whole credit to the management. They have created a good atmosphere in the dressing room.

“All those players who used to have a fear of failure, they now have no fear of failure because the management has given full confidence to the players.”

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill said his team will look to bounce back once again.

“Our spirits are still high. We have a chance to come back and win 3-2, so there is still a lot of excitement in the camp at the moment,” said Guptill, who described New Zealand’s reply of 217 to Pakistan’s 364 for seven at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium as disappointing.

“We have two more games to go out and prove we can do it, and we know we can do it. We just didn’t get things right. We didn’t have a platform to launch like Pakistan did.”

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: December 17, 2014 04:00 AM

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