Shaheen Shah Afridi rocked the Indian batting lineup
Afridi dismissed Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in his first two overs to put India behind the eight ball. He then returned to get rid of Virat Kohli when the Indian skipper was threatening to take India to a reasonable score.
While reviewing the India-Pakistan encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra picked Shaheen Shah Afridi as the star performer of the match. He observed:
“My Player of the Match is Shaheen Shah Afridi. Shah defeated India and the way he did it. You do win the toss and bowl first but India’s cream is at the top, you get a lot of quality batting there.”
The former India cricketer highlighted that Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled almost unplayable deliveries to dismiss both Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Chopra elaborated:
“He got Rohit Sharma out at the start in the first over and then KL Rahul in the second over. Those deliveries were unplayable balls at 145 kmph and he was getting the ball to swing, pitching it up, hitting the pads or the stumps. This is phenomenal.”
Shaheen Shah Afridi trapped Rohit Sharma plumb in front of the wickets for a golden duck. He then bowled an absolute peach to castle Rahul in the second over of his spell.
“Pakistan have had a very good legacy and Shaheen Shah Afridi is taking it forward” – Aakash Chopra
Shaheen Shah Afridi was duly selected for the Player of the Match award
Aakash Chopra added that Shaheen Shah Afridi’s devastating spell rekindled memories of Mohammad Amir’s similar performances against Team India. He recalled:
“That bowling quality, two spells were remembered – one that Mohammad Amir bowled in the Asia Cup and then again Mohammad Amir in the Champions Trophy. Pakistan has got another left-arm fast bowler. They have had a very good legacy and Shaheen Shah Afridi is taking it forward.”
While acknowledging that other bowlers played their part, the reputed commentator pointed out that the left-arm pacer dished out the match-defining performance. Chopra said:
“He broke the back of the Indian batting order right at the start when he dismissed the two openers. After that, Hasan Ali did dismiss Suryakumar Yadav and India was set back even further but my player of the match is Shaheen Shah Afridi.”
Team India never really recovered after the initial blows struck by Afridi. Kohli and Rishabh Pant helped India to a score of 151/7, which was chased down easily by Pakistan’s openers.