‘Match was in hands’: Shaheen Afridi remarks after match with India washed out

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Shaheen Afridi poses in his signature style after sending Rohit Sharma back during the match on September 2, 2023. — AFP
Shaheen Afridi poses in his signature style after sending Rohit Sharma back during the match on September 2, 2023. — AFP

National side fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has expressed confidence that had the rain not disrupted Saturday’s Asia Cup match between arch-rivals Pakistan and India, the Green Shirts would have won the game.

“The match didn’t happen — if it had, the result was in our hands,” Shaheen remarked. “But we can’t do anything about the weather,” he added.

The left-arm fast bowler further said that the team had managed to secure what they wanted.

“We took two important wickets first. In the partnership that followed, Hardik Pandya’s wicket was important at that time.”

The 23-year-old added that the overall performance of the team in the innings was very good.

He shared that he was trying to swing from the front, however, the ball was not swinging in the right areas.

“The combination of in-swing and out-swing proved to be quite helpful, Shaheen said, adding that it was this combination that helped him take the first two wickets.

The national side player further remarked that they were trying to hit more dot balls to put pressure on India.

Furthermore, Shaheen praised Virat Kholi, terming him a “great player” with more runs against Pakistan.

“Virat Kohli’s wicket was the most important for us as he is the backbone of the Indian batting line-up. However, I will give full credit to the team because it is a team game,” Shaheen remarked.

He added that Pakistan’s men’s cricket team Director Mickey Arthur always says that fast bowlers win tournaments and the Pakistan team’s bowlers tried to play in partnership,

“Haris Roof’s role is to scare the next team with his pace and bouncers, while Naseem Shah and I try to go higher on the swing,” he remarked.

“Harris, Naseem and I try to get the team out for as few runs as possible so that it becomes easier for our team,” he said, adding that playing in front of your own people was a different kind of fun.

Expressing confidence in the team’s skills and performance, he added: “Hopefully, the Gaddafi Stadium will be a house full, and the fans will come to support us.”

While Saturday’s match left the fans disappointed since it was washed out due to rain, Pakistan and India could face each other twice, Super 4 and the final, in the remaining matches of the Asia Cup.

However, to do that, India will have to avoid defeat against Nepal in their final group-stage game during the Asia Cup to qualify for the Super 4 round.

The traditional rivals will also clash during the ICC World Cup 2023 in India.

On the other hand, Naseem termed his experience of playing against India “good”.

“I have played T20 matches against India before. In ODI cricket, you have to bowl with a little patience,” he said.

Praising his teammates’ game, Naseem said: “Shaheen Afridi bowled exceptionally early and Haris Rauf’s bowling was also good.”

He further added that he would enjoy playing and winning in Lahore. 

“I have played a lot of cricket in Lahore. It feels good to play where you played cricket as a child.”

Upcoming Pakistan-India matches

September 10 – Asia Cup Super Four – Colombo – 2:30pm (PST)

September 17 – Asia Cup Final – Colombo – 2:30pm (PST)

October 14 – ICC World Cup 2023 – Ahmedabad – 1:30pm (PST)

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