BIRMINGHAM: Although the man-of-the-match award for Pakistan’s remarkable six wicket win over New Zealand went to Babar Azam but there was another hero — Shaheen Shah Afridi — who bowled a memorable spell to push Kiwis on the back foot.
He took three wickets for 28 runs in 10 overs, and got the important wickets of Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham to put Pakistan in the driving seat early in the game.
In a post-match interview, Shaheen said that he tries to follow Wasim Akram and his elder brother Riaz Afridi.
“I follow Wasim Akram and want to be like him. I also take guidance from my brother Riaz Afridi who has played for Pakistan,” he added.
Shaheen said that Akram’s guidance helped him control the line and length, adding that he also spoke to his brother on the morning of the match and got the motivation he needed.
“They told me to keep control on line and length and not to allow the batsmen to settle down,” he said.
Shaheen had a tough start to World Cup 2019 and was dropped at one point but was restored to the starting eleven after Hasan Ali's own uninspired form with the ball.
The young southpaw, who also plays for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League, said that bowling coach Azhar Mehmood also helped him a lot in nets to hit the right length in English condition.
“I credit Ajju bhai, our bowling coach for this,” Afridi said. “He worked hard with me in nets to get my length better and according to conditions here,” Shaheen said.
He expressed hope that Pakistan would win both their remaining games and qualify for the semi-final of the tournament.
“I wasn’t even born in 1992 so I don’t know how things were 27 years ago. I’m not thinking much about the similarities but yes I’m focused on giving my best in this tournament to achieve glory once again,” he aimed.
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