Earlier in the ICC T20 World Cup, Pakistan batting consultant Matthew Hayden rated Shaheen Shah Afridi’s delivery that dismissed India’s opening batter, KL Rahul, as one of the best he has ever seen.
“Pace is unquestionably an important part of Shaheen’s arsenal,” Hayden was quoted as saying by ANI. “In T20 cricket, the ball does not swing for long, and it is a matter of a few balls, not overs.” Those balls [by Shaheen] can be destructive, as evidenced by his dismissal of KL Rahul, which was one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Shaheen had bowled an outstanding good-length delivery that pitched at about off-stump and came in sharply, completely perplexing the right-handed batter.
However, the 50-year-old, who has been a part of Australian world cup-winning squads, is skeptical of Shaheen’s workload because he has been playing for Pakistan in all three formats of the game, stating that maintaining fitness will be difficult for the pacer.
Concerning the crucial semi-final match between Pakistan and Australia, he stated that the Men-in-Green will face a unit that is accustomed to delivering trophies and winning world cups for their country.
“The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is one major tournament that Australia has yet to win, so the stakes are pretty high,” he said. On the other hand, he reaffirmed Pakistan cricket fans’ love and passion for the game, adding that it is critical for them that their team win the semi-finals and the tournament.
“From Pakistan’s cricket perspective, I feel as a nation that loves cricket as much as it does, nothing is more important,” he said, adding that expectations at home are higher now that they know they have a group of players who are ready to go all the way in the tournament. The former Australian opening batsman expressed his delight at being present on the eve of a T20 World Cup semi-final and stated that all four semi-finalists had worked extremely hard to reach this point.
“We [the Pakistan team] are extremely excited to enter the tournament’s semi-finals with terrific momentum, fantastic energy, and great optimism,” he said. “The Pakistan cricket team can compete with any team in the world.”
So far in the tournament, the Green Shirts have been the only unbeaten team. In the Super 12s round of the mega event, they easily defeated India, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Namibia, and Scotland.
Pakistan will face Australia in the second T20 World Cup semi-final on Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium.