Mickey Arthur, the Pakistan team’s director, found himself in a state of disbelief during the 2023 World Cup match against Afghanistan, owing to Shaheen Afridi‘s lackadaisical fielding performance. This disheartening incident unfolded in the sixth over of Afghanistan’s innings.
During this crucial over, Afghanistan’s batsman, Ibrahim Zadran, steered a delivery from Hasan Ali towards the third-man region. Initially, it appeared as though they would settle for a single, given that Shaheen Afridi was stationed in the deep.
However, the left-arm pacer displayed an alarming level of complacency as the cricket ball eluded his grasp, gifting Afghanistan an extra run. This episode highlighted a pattern of subpar fielding by the Pakistani side throughout the match in Chennai.
As a result, Director Mickey Arthur’s disappointment was palpable as he witnessed this particular lapse in fielding. Prior to this occurrence, there was another instance that contributed to Pakistan’s woes.
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Ibrahim Zadran deflected a delivery from Shaheen Afridi towards the backward point region. Zadran and his partner, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, seized the opportunity to snatch a single.
Nevertheless, a sequence of misjudgments, involving Mohammad Rizwan and various Pakistani fielders, escalated the situation into chaos, culminating in two overthrows. Consequently, Afghanistan managed to tally three runs from that particular ball, further frustrating the Pakistani camp.
Shaheen Afridi, considered one of Pakistan’s premier bowlers, remained without a wicket in his initial spell against the Afghan side. His four overs had yielded 20 runs, without a dismissal to his name.
The absence of wickets by such a vital player was a matter of concern for Pakistan’s fans and the team alike. The match had commenced with Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, winning the toss and opting to bat first at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Babar Azam himself exhibited exemplary leadership by contributing a commanding 74-run innings, steering Pakistan to a total of 282/7 in their allotted 50 overs. In their pursuit of 283 runs for victory, Afghanistan made a robust start, as the opening pair of Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz forged an impressive 130-run partnership for the first wicket.
Gurbaz, having played remarkably, departed after amassing 65 runs off 53 deliveries. The outcome of this contest hung in the balance, and Pakistan’s chances rested heavily on the shoulders of Shaheen Afridi and his fellow bowlers.
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The Pakistan faithful ardently hoped for a swift turnaround in their team’s fortunes, with the anticipation that Afridi and company would swiftly dismiss the Afghan batters to clinch the much-needed victory.