Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Sharjah

Shahid Afridi had 'point to prove'

Umar Farooq in Sharjah

November 21, 2011

Comments: 90 | Text size: A | A

Shahid Afridi drives during his half-century, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Sharjah, November 20, 2011
Shahid Afridi's half-century gave Pakistan a defendable total, which he defended © AFP
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Shahid Afridi has said that he had a "point to prove" after his match-winning performance in Sharjah helped Pakistan secure the one-day series against Sri Lanka 3-1 with a game in hand. Afridi scored 75 before taking 5 for 35, becoming the only cricketer to score a half-century and take five wickets in two ODIs, leading Pakistan to a 26-run win in a low-scoring contest.

"I had a point to prove and actions speak louder than words," said Afridi, who had come out of conditional retirement before the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. "There were a lot of challenges and there were a lot things that I had to prove wrong [about me].

"I know there is a lot of expectation from me and I too understand how my batting could help the team. I am doing exactly according to the demand, as I made my comeback with an aim and goal. Now I want to play cricket and nothing else, and focus on my game."

Afridi began his innings with Pakistan in disarray at 71 for 5 in the 24th over. While wickets continued to fall at the other end, he batted with authority and control, scoring 75 off 65 balls to drive his team to 200, a defendable target on a slow pitch.

"I was expected to take singles, instead of sixes," Afridi said. "I am feeling great to have such a great performance, which helped Pakistan win. Earlier, when I was batting, I got the message from Misbah [ul-Haq] to bat for the whole (50) overs. I tried my best at my end with Saeed Ajmal, who did a great job."

Sri Lanka, however, were cruising towards the target, having reached 155 for 3 in the 38th over with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene batting fluently. Afridi began Pakistan's fightback by bowling Sangakkara for 58.

"When Sri Lanka were in a winning position, the captain [Misbah] said we needed just one wicket, and I was lucky that I got Sangakkara out," Afridi said. "Then we were able to change the situation."

Afridi dismissed Jayawardene as well, for 55, and ripped through the lower order to complete a five-wicket haul. When Thisara Perera skied the ball and was caught by Umar Akmal in the 46th over, Sri Lanka had lost seven wickets for 19 runs to be dismissed for 174. Misbah's leadership, Afridi said, was ideal.

"The way Misbah is leading, it's great and the management is very good," he said. "I want seniors to take more responsibility [though], because I don't want youngsters to be told in every meeting that they must improve. So I want to set some examples for the new players."

Misbah gave Afridi his due but also praised his players for a team effort. "The main thing is the collective effort," he said. "Every individual is performing in different matches and a collective effort is seen. Every player is playing his role."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

shahid bhai you are rock

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (November 23, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

People who praise Afridi for his 75 couldn't be genuine cricket followers. If they were, they would have known that this was Afridid's first 50+ score in 14 ODIs. This means he more or less failed Pakistan in 13 ODIs and caused Pakistan to win in a desperate situation in 1 ODI. As a Pak supporter, I don't like such odds. For me Afridi, has always been someone who was a brilliant bowler, a very capable captain, and a good fielder (within the worst fielding side in the world). This is no mean feat. But, please don't call him what he is not - a batsman.

Posted by USAPakCricFollower on (November 22, 2011, 16:17 GMT)

Although I am a Pak cricket fan, I for one agree with Sachinda Nand's comments. This was a great performance from Afridi, the one that is worthy of the Boom Boom title. However there is still more hype about him than the allround performance. The Boom Boom title was coined for batting, the bowling came later. Alas, he has failed with the bat a lot and in the process failed his team most of the times. Only once in a while he comes up with this kind of performance and people talk about it, forgetting all the failures. I wish he would wise up, listen to the captain and management as he did on Sunday, and he will score a lot more runs and help his team win a lot more.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2011, 15:19 GMT)

Congratulations to AFRIDI for the decent innings of 75(65)with bat and for a superb spell as 6.2-1-12-5 with ball. His temperament in this innings was pleasent. I saw in him a great batsman by looking for gapes and singles rather for rash shots. Hope for ur consistency with bat , "AND I WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST YOU THREE THINGS- TO ALWAYS LOOK FOR SINGLES, TO RESPECT GOOD DELIVERIES, HAVE PATIENCE TO WAIT FOR POOR ONES.

Posted by V.Jammy on (November 22, 2011, 13:29 GMT)

Superb performance from Afridi. Come on man, just keep on performing like this. I wish that you play for 2 more World Cups, scores more than 10,000 runs & take more wickets than Muralitharan. You are only player in the current Pakistan team, whom the cricket lovers from all over the world love to watch !!

Posted by poderdubdubdub on (November 22, 2011, 13:03 GMT)

Vintage Afridi Boom Boom!

Posted by   on (November 22, 2011, 7:54 GMT)

@sachida Nand you said afridi should bring consistency in his performance how much consistent yu want he's in top ten bowler ranking and even started to perform with bat that consistency is being from W 11 how much else you want it to be??

Posted by   on (November 22, 2011, 6:25 GMT)

@Sachinda Nand...just to let you know, Sanath Jayasuriya is one of only 2 players in ODI history to have scored more than 6000 runs and take more than 300 wickets...know who is the 2nd player?? Shahid Afridi!!...even if you look at his test batting average, its above 35 with 7 fifties and 5 hundreds in just 20 matches..he might not be the most consistent but he is a genuine match winner who has won more matches for Pakistan than players with bigger reputations...give credit where it is due!! :)

Posted by SirThomas on (November 22, 2011, 4:42 GMT)

In response to some of the comments on statistics, this is probably the page that was being referred:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;spanmin1=1+Jan+2011;spanval1=span;template=results;type=team

Posted by Irfan_chn on (November 22, 2011, 0:21 GMT)

Amazing performance from Afridi!! I was wondering before the start of the match if he can bat well it will be great and he displayed his superb batting performance after a long time. The whole world know how devastating Afridi is with his bowling, if he can continue this batting stint then he can always prove a point ;) I wish pak takes the series 4-1 that will help them increase the ODI ranking.

Pakistan is not the team to be ranked No.6, with the kinda talent they possess it is simply unbelievable. Hope they come back to be among odi top 3 teams.

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