Iftikhar trying to be Dhoni but isn't ending the innings like him, says Ajmal

Saeed Ajmal criticised the lack of effort from Pakistan's middle order

Iftikhar trying to be Dhoni but isn't ending the innings like him, says Ajmal PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan's tri-nation series match against New Zealand on Tuesday ended in a humiliating nine-wicket loss. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were bowled quickly, reducing Pakistan to 130/7 in 20 overs.

The middle order was again exposed as Shan Masood (14), Shadab Khan (8), Iftikhar Ahmed (27) and Haider Ali (8) failed to contribute. Asif Ali scored 25 runs without being dismissed off 20 balls, but it was not enough for Pakistan to post a significant score.

The hosts ultimately chased down the goal in Christchurch in 16.1 overs, with Finn Allen batting 62 off 42 balls and Devon Conway remaining undefeated on 49.

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Saeed Ajmal, former Pakistani spinner, criticised the lack of effort from the middle order of the Pakistan batting order following the game. He also elaborated on Iftikhar Ahmed, who required 27 balls to score the same number of runs. Iftikhar began his innings slowly and maintained a poor strike rate throughout his stint.

Saeed Ajmal, remarking on the innings, stated that Iftikhar began his innings similarly to MS Dhoni but did not conclude it similarly.

"Iftikhar plays like MS Dhoni but couldn't end the innings like MS used to. (MS) used to take singles and hit sixes towards the end to compensate for them. Here, Iftikhar plays ten dot balls, Shan Masood plays 5-7 dot balls, and when they try to recover by hitting big shots, they get out.),” Ajmal said on his official YouTube channel that the knock was unacceptable.

"Iftikhar scored 27 runs off as many balls and he got out in the last over. Where do you stand?),” he further stated.

Since last month's Asia Cup, Pakistan's middle-order woes have worsened, and these issues came to the fore during the 3-4 loss in the seven-match T20I series against England. On October 23, the squad led by Babar Azam will begin their T20 World Cup campaign against arch-rivals India.