Pakistan, backed into the corner, delivered a remarkable performance against New Zealand on Wednesday and won the game by six wickets.
Although Babar Azam was declared as the man of the match, Shaheen Afridi’s performance should not go unnoticed.
Afridi had been struggling with his form since the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) 4th edition; he bowled the most expensive spell in the PSL history during the campaign and since then, he failed to replicate the performances which helped him get selected for the Pakistan national team.
Eventually, he was dropped from the team but Hasan Ali’s failure to impress as well earned him a starting position against New Zealand, where the left-arm pacer did not disappoint.
Shaheen took 3 wickets from his 10 overs and conceded only 28 runs. He also bowled 3 crucial maidens throughout his allocated overs. These stats are the most economical since Wasim Akram’s 2 for 27 in Manchester in 1999.
Speaking to media after the game, Shaheen Afridi said that Wasim Akram gave him a few tips prior to the match which made all the difference.
I follow Wasim Akram and wants to be like him. I also take guidance from my brother Riaz Afridi who has played for Pakistan. They told me to keep control on line and length and not to allow batsmen to settle down.
Strong performances from Babar, Haris and Shaheen are all positive signs for Pakistan as they head to the most crucial stage of the tournament; Pakistan need to win both their remaining games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan to stand any chance of qualifying for the semifinal of the ICC World Cup 2019.