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T20 World Cup: Boult hopes to swing it like Shaheen


New Zealand’s lead pacer Trent Boult is hoping to exploit India’s frailties against left-arm fast bowling, taking up from where Shaheen Shah Afridi left off, in their vital Super 12 T20 World Cup match here on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Afridi gave Pakistan a dream start by dismissing the Indian opening duo of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in successive overs, which paved the way for their stunning 10-wicket win over India last Sunday.

Having seen the Indian top order crumble against the Pakistani left-arm pacer, Boult has plans to do an encore when the two sides clash in a virtual knockout contest.

“The way Shaheen bowled the other night. From a left-armer, watching on I thought it was amazing. Hopefully, from my point of view, it swings around a little bit, and I can mirror what Shaheen did the other night,” Boult told reporters on the eve of their clash.

It was only during the 2019 World Cup semifinal that Boult could dismiss India skipper Virat Kohli, while fellow pacer Matt Henry accounted for K. L. Rahul and Rohit Sharma to reduce India to 5/3 inside four overs while defending a modest 240.

“India have quality batters so getting early wickets is definitely the focus for us as a bowling group,” Boult said.

Most of the games in the ongoing T20 World Cup are won by the team chasing.

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“India brings a lot of challenges, quality batting lineup. We just need to be clear with our options on how to shut these guys down and obviously give them a bit bigger chase as possible.” New Zealand, too, has suffered a loss to Pakistan in their second match, and both the teams would be keen to open their account.

“Boys are pretty upbeat and excited to take on India. We did not enjoy a great start against Pakistan, who are obviously playing some very good cricket at the moment.

“It’s going to be a good challenge. Our first game in Dubai looks pretty good there, and yeah, I really look forward to taking them on.” Having beaten India in the recent ICC events — World Test Series Final 2021 and ODI World Cup semifinals in 2019 — the Kiwis may have the edge, but Boult did not agree.

“I would not say we have an extra edge. Both sides are stacked with quality players. A few guys have here playing the IPL and obviously have relationships and played a lot of these Indian guys. So yeah, he’s hoping we can put it all together tomorrow and get our ball rolling.” Boult further said their star batter Martin Guptill is fit for the match.

“Guptill is pretty good, didn’t see too many issues with him. So nice, he is definitely a big piece of the puzzle at the top of the innings. From what I know he’s good to get.”

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