Shaheen Afridi has not been at his best since returning from injury at the T20 World Cup, with many criticizing team management for forcing him back so soon after suffering a catastrophic ACL tear.
However, his performance in the Super 12 victory over South Africa, which was nothing short of a must-win game for Pakistan, demonstrated to the entire world why he is considered as one of the best pacers in modern day cricket.
South Africa made a dismal start while chasing a difficult 186 to win. The dangerous wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who could go all guns blazing, was dismissed for a duck by Shaheen Afridi in the final delivery of the opening over of the innings, leaving South Africa at 1-1. Afridi then returned in his second over to dismiss Rilee Russow, bringing the score to 16-2.
After the rain delay, the target was reduced to 142 from 14 overs, and in the 11th over, Shaheen Afridi struck again, picking the wicket of Henrich Klaasen.
At the age of 22 years and 211 days, Afridi became the youngest pace bowler to take 50 wickets in the game’s shortest format. He therefore surpassed Australia’s women’s team pacer Elysse Perry, who achieved the feat at the age of 23 years and 144 days.
Afridi also became the fourth youngest bowler in T20I history, joining Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Stephanie Taylor (West Indies), and Deepti Sharma (India).
Shaheen Afridi finished his three overs with figures of 3/14, his career-best statistics in the shortest format of the game.
Coming to the match, Pakistan scored 185/9 in the first innings, thanks to the big-hitting of Shadab Khan and Ifthikhar Ahmed in the latter half of the game. The Pakistan bowlers bowled well on both sides of the rain break, limiting the Proteas to 108-9 and winning by 33 runs under Duckworth-Lewis method.
Pakistan keep semi-final hopes alive, clinching a win in the Group 2 clash against South Africa #T20WorldCup | #PAKvSA | : https://t.co/3VVq7VAJLt pic.twitter.com/hfsNzCivam
— ICC (@ICC) November 3, 2022
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