Pakistan ended their World Cup drought against India in the last edition of the T20 World Cup in the UYAE. One of the key players in that historic win was the pacer Shaheen Afridi, who dismissed the Indian top order of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli.
Afridi will look to replicate this same performance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on Sunday, October 23. He has already demonstrated in the warm-up game against Afghanistan that he is back to what he does best.
In his opening spell last year, he dismissed Sharma with a full-length inswinger and Rahul with a length delivery that came back sharply and hit the stumps. In his second spell, he dismissed Kohli. Afridi mentioned he had observed weakness in Rohit’s batting, which was Afridi’s strength. In an interview with ESPNCricinfo Afridi said:
“I had observed that Rohit Sharma struggles against the inswing, at that yorker length. In 2021, most of my dismissals were with that length. So I thought to myself, if that’s my strength why not use it against him in the first ball that bowl to him. I got the reward straight away.”
Glad to be back 😇🇵🇰
— Shaheen Shah Afridi (@iShaheenAfridi) October 19, 2022
“He asked me to not try a yorker” – Shaheen Afridi credits Shoaib Malik
For his second wicket, Shaheen Afridi credited former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik who suggested he bowl a length delivery instead of a yorker-length delivery. He added:
“For the KL Rahul dismissal, In happened to be standing with Shoaib Malik bhai. He asked me whether the ball was swinging and I said, not that much. He asked me to not try a yorker and go for a length ball which might nip back and trouble him. I said I will try it and a after getting the wicket I went and thanked him. I owe that wicket to him.”
These two wickets had straight away put India on the back foot. Pakistan restricted them to 151-7 and won the match by 10 wickets courtesy of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s opening partnership.
Shaheen Afridi made a name for himself in this game and announced to the world that he was a force to be dealt with in this sport. This memorable occasion was the pacer’s first outing against India in a T20 world cup.
This win against India remains one of Pakistan’s most memorable matches against their arch-rivals India.