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Aiming to cap World Cup preparations on a high: Aliya Riaz

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CHRISTCHURCH: All-rounder Aliya Riaz has had a brilliant run in One-Day Internationals last calendar year. She was the leading run-scorer for Pakistan with 382 runs at an average of just under 48. The right-handed hard-hitting batter scored two half-centuries in 2021 with her highest score being 81 against South Africa at Durban. This is the most she has scored in a year since her debut in 2014. 

She was instrumental in Pakistan’s four-wicket win against an in-form New Zealand at Lincoln’s Bert Sutcliffe Oval in the first warm-up as she smashed an unbeaten 52-ball 62 to help her side overhaul 230 in 49.2 overs.

Aliya enters the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup as one of the key players on whom Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof will be banking on and she is eager to raise her hand whenever the opportunity arises. “I am well-aware of my role, and I am looking forward to winning matches for my side,” she told PCB Digital after the team’s training session on Tuesday. “I bat in the lower middle-order so my job is to score quick runs and finish the job for my side. It can be tough at times, but I enjoy challenges.

“It is very important for you as a cricketer to sustain your form at this level and make sure that you do all the right things that help your side. I enter the World Cup with a positive frame of mind, after having a good last year. We couldn’t win many matches in 2021, but I am hopeful that will change in this tournament.”

Pakistan play their second and last warm-up match against Bangladesh at Lincoln on 2 March (tomorrow) before they head to Tauranga, where they play their first three World Cup matches and open the campaign on 6 March against India.

For Aliya, it is an opportunity to cap the World Cup preparations on a high. “It was good to beat New Zealand in the warm-up as it has given much-needed confidence to the girls ahead of the World Cup. We want to beat Bangladesh and complete our preparations on a high note. It will help us enter the World Cup with the momentum on our side.”

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