Afridi inspires Pakistan to big win

Afridi inspires Pakistan to big win

Skipper's all-round show deflates Bangladesh

Afridi inspires Pakistan to big win

 Stung by unwarranted criticism, Shahid Afridi gave a fitting reply with a brilliant all-round performance guiding his team to a comprehensive 55-run win over Bangladesh in a group league encounter of the ICC World T20, here on Wednesday.

The Pakistan skipper led by example blasting 49 off only 19 balls with winners scoring a massive 201 for five after opting to bat. Afridi then bowled his superfast leg-breaks to grab 2-27 in four overs to restrict Bangladesh to 146 for six in their stipulated 20 overs on a batting friendly Eden Gardens track.

He deservingly got ‘Man of the Match’ award and also the victory was a sweet revenge for Pakistan, who were ousted from Asia Cup by Mashrafe Mortaza’s men only a couple of weeks back.

Afridi very rarely plays rampaging innnings these days but on Wednesday afternoon, he did show why he is known as ‘Boom boom’ as balls disappeared thick and fast into stands. He hit four sixes apart from equal number of boundaries and his innings was the difference between 150 and 200.

Before Afridi’s carnage, Ahmed Shehzad (52 from 39 balls; 8x4) and Mohammad Hafeez (64 from 42b; 7x4, 2x6) had laid the foundation with a 95-run partnership from 68 balls.

Afridi got the perfect platform as he took just one single to settle down before smashing Mortaza for consecutive boundaries and a six. he was exquisite with his shot selection and had all the time to improvise as he raced to 25 from nine balls toying Bangladesh bowlers with ease on a fast outfield. Such was his power that his mistimed shots went over boundary.

Afridi’s blitzkrieg along with half centuries from Hafeez and Shehzad meant that their batting came to fore ahead of March 19’s big match against traditional rivals India who will be looking for survival after their loss to New Zealand in the tournament opener.

In reply, Bangladesh were in no way in the game and the fast and furious Mohammad Amir provided the perfect start unsettling Soumya Sarkar’s offstump in the third ball.

Amid loud cheers, Afridi brought himself on in the sixth over and angled one into Sabbir Rahaman (25) cramping him for room as he was bowled.

Incidentally, Pakistan’s highest T20 International total was also scored against the same opposition when they piled 203/5 in April 2008.

Earlier, having lost the early wicket of Sharjeel Khan (18) in the third over, Hafeez and Shehzad laid the foundation for Pakistan in their match turning second-wicket partnership that came off just 68 balls.

SCORE BOARD

PAKISTAN
Sharjeel b Sunny    18
Shehzadc Mahmudullah b Sabbir    52
Hafeez c Sarkar b Sunny    64
Afridi c Mahmudullah b Taskin    49
Akmal c Shakib b Taskin    0
Malik (not out)    15
Wasim (not out)    0
Extras (LB-1, W-1, NB-1)    3
Total (for 5 wkts; 20 overs)    201
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-121, 3-163, 4-175, 5-198.
Bowling: Taskin 4-0-32-2, Al-Amin 3-0-43-0, Sunny 4-0-34-2, Shakib 4-0-39-0, Mortaza 3-0-41-0, Sabbir 2-0-11-1
BANGLADESH
Tamim c Wasim b Afridi    24
Sarkar b Amir    0
Sabbir b Shahid Afridi    25
Shakib (not out)    50
Mahmudullah c Sharjeel b Wasim    4
Mushfiqur c Sarfraz b Amir    18
Mithun c Amir b Irfan    2
Mortaza (not out)    15
Extras (LB-4, W-4)    8
Total (for 6 wkts; 20 overs)    146
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-44, 3-58, 4-71, 5-110, 6-117.
Bowling: Amir 4-0-27-2, Irfan 4-0-30-1, Riaz 4-0-31-0, Afridi 4-0-27-2, Malik 2-0 -14-0, Wasim 2-0-13-1.

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