Super Shaheen stuns India into submission

Pakistan claimed its first World Cup win over India on Sunday, the tone for which was set by Shaheen Afridi's new ball spell.

He was fast. He swung the ball and he proved lethal. Shaheen Afridi made sure it is a name that reverberates in the future.   -  AP

At one point on Sunday, four hours before toss, a group of fans gathered outside Dubai International Cricket Stadium seemed comfortably outnumbered by television crews and newspaper reporters. An innocuous argument broke out between two men.

One said, "India has never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup. Tonight's not going to be any different. We've Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit... " He was interrupted midway when the other man said, "Bhai jaan, we've Shaheen Shah."

By the time the match ended, Kohli and his men knew what the man meant.  Afridi began his spell by removing both Indian openers. He executed a pacy inswinging yorker which thudded into the back leg of Rohit Sharma.

It was plumb in front and Rohit departed for a golden duck.  In his next over, he accounted for the in-form KL Rahul, clean bowling him with a good length ball that shaped in from the off stump.

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India, 6 for 2 in 2.1 overs, was left to play catch up. Afridi capped off a memorable spell when he got rid of Kohli with a slower bouncer in the 19th over.

"He bowled really well with the new ball," Kohli said at the post-match presser. "I think he hit the right areas to pick up wickets. In T20 cricket, you need good execution to pick up wickets with the new ball and certainly he did that.

"Credit to him, he put our batsmen under pressure immediately with the new ball. He ran in with intensity and showed that he's bowling in consistent areas. As batsmen you are forced to be a bit watchful and that spell kind of put us on the back foot immediately and from thereon to get those 20-25 runs towards the end seemed pretty difficult."

Admittedly the excitement would later build, with hundreds congregating outside the stadium to celebrate a memorable victory for Pakistan. The celebratory car horns had begun blaring in the surrounding roads, police crowd control officers were scrambling as the decibel level kept rising.

Meanwhile, some Pakistan fans chased the team bus chanting "Shaheen, Shaheen". On Sunday, Afridi made sure it is a name that reverberates in the future.

 

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