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September 12, 2007
Short, sweet and savage
It lasted only five minutes and seven deliveries, but every moment of Shahid Afridi's stint at the crease was sheer entertainment. His definition of a sighter was a down-on-one-knee slog-sweep off Majid Haq's offspin, which sent the ball soaring over the midwicket boundary. The next ball was pulled behind square leg, and the fielder was so late to spot the ball that it flew for four. That was followed by another six, the ball just eluding long-on. After an edge through third man for three, another savage pull fetched four. Twenty three runs off one over. The manic blast ended soon after, but Afridi had shown once again why crowds flock to see him all over the world.
Scotland might be a few grades lower than the more recognised teams in skills with bat and ball, but in the field they could easily teach some of the more esteemed sides a lesson or three. Neil McCallum emphasised this in the 19th over. Yasir Arafat blasted one down the ground; McCallum sprinted across from long-on, dived full length, got both hands to the ball, and kept what looked like a certain boundary to two runs. That was only one of numerous instances when Scotland showed they could mix with the best in terms of fielding. In terms of effort, their's was a faultless performance.
Pakistan's charity service As early as the third over, Pakistan showed that the standards set by Scotland in the field were too high to match. A flick by Fraser Watts should have been easily stopped by Umar Gul; instead he moved lazily towards the ball, was late in bending down, and could only watch as the ball sped to his left and to the boundary. The catches that Scotland so generously offered were lapped up but Gul served another reminder at the end that fielding wasn't Pakistan's strongest suit, letting one through between his legs in the last over.
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