Shaheen Shah Afridi, who’s magic first spell turned out to be a game-changer, said that he had worked hard on bringing the ball back into the right-handers, which paid rich dividends against India in their T20 World Cup opener.
Pakistan beat India by 10 wickets to win their first game in the global event against the arch-rivals, with Shaheen claiming 3/31 and his victims were vice-captain Rohit Sharma, senior opener KL Rahul, and skipper Virat Kohli at the death.
However, it is his superb deliveries to Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul that are being talked about after Pakistan’s victory and he was deservingly awarded the Player of the Match.
“It is the good wishes of my parents and all Pakistanis. Very happy with my performance. The plan was to bring the ball back in. I was just trying to swing it and I was just looking to give the team a breakthrough,’ Shaheen said at the post-match presentation.
“That was what I practised in the nets as well yesterday. Batting against the new ball was tough.”
He also gave a lot of credit to Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan for the manner in which they batted.
“The credit goes to Babar and Rizwan for the way they played. All teams are good in the tournament and we will look to carry this momentum through and go to the finals,” Shaheen added.
India captain Virat Kohli was all praise for the young fast bowler.
“He did bowl really well with new ball and hit right areas to pick up wickets. In T20 cricket, it’s about execution to pick up wickets with new ball and he certainly did that and so credit to him.
“He put our batters under pressure and ran in with intensity with new ball, showed that he bowled in consistent areas and so as a batter, you needed to be watchful and that spell put us on the back-foot immediately. The extra 20-25 runs seemed pretty difficult when you lose three wickets for 20 runs (31),” the skipper added.
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