PAK vs NZ: Shaheen Afridi opens up after Player of the Match performance in fifth T20I

The 24-year-old took eight wickets in the series

By Web Desk
April 27, 2024
Shaheen Afridi points towards the pavilion. - PCB

Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi bagged Player of the Match in the fifth T20I against New Zealand as he took figures of 4/30 in a must-win game at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium.

The 24-year-old led the charge as the hosts were defending 179 and bowled the visitors on 169 in the last over to bag nine-run win.

In the post-match presentation, Shaheen opined that he always looks for the wickets and deliver for the side.

"I always try to strike and look for wickets. The goal is always to do the best for the team. When New Zealand were bowling, the ball was keeping low, and there was a chance they could miss if we bowled wicket to wicket and do length bowling.

"If ball is reversing, I try to mix it up in the last two overs, yorker is the best delivery in every format of the game. I try to deceive the batters at the death," he added.

It must be noted Kiwis were troubled by Afridi’s first-over heroics as the 24-year-old removed Tom Blundell with an in-swinging beauty.

With his wicket in the first over, Shaheen became the first bowler to take 50 wickets in T20 cricket. Behind him is India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has 43 wickets.

However, the Black Caps recovered quickly as Tim Seifert took charge of the innings and blasted Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir for boundaries all over the ground in his over.

The right-hander scored a quick 52 off 33 but was removed by Usama Mir in the ninth over. The leg-spinner was Pakistan’s second-best performer with the ball as he ended his spell with impressive figures of 2/21.

Despite losing wickets, the Black Caps didn’t lose focus and continued to play attacking cricket with Josh Clarkson doing the job down the order.

However, Clarkson couldn’t take his side over the line as all the remaining batters were out and as a result, the visitors suffered a nine-run defeat.

Batting first, Pakistan posted 178/5 with Babar Azam top-scoring for the side with 69 off 44 balls.

The hosts had a disappointing start with Saim Ayub only making 1 run. He was dismissed by William O’Rourke in the second over.

Usman Khan joined captain Babar Azam and the pair recovered well by scoring quickly. Usman, playing his fourth T20, made 31 off 24 balls with the help of four boundaries.

Meanwhile, Babar looked solid tonight with his strokes. The 29-year-old registered his 34th fifty in T20Is and also claimed the record for most fours in the history of the format.

On the other hand, Fakhar Zaman took charge in the second half of the innings and continued his form from the last game.

He finished on 43 off 33 balls which included five boundaries.

Shadab Khan played a 15-run cameo off just five balls which pushed Pakistan's total to 170+.