Don’t ig­nore Pak­istan – Afridi

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

FOR­MER cricket all-rounder Shahid Afridi said it would be a mis­take to write off Pak­istan af­ter they proved they re­main ar­guably the most un­pre­dictable team in in­ter­na­tional cricket by trump­ing South Africa.

Three days af­ter be­ing steam­rolled by arch-ri­vals In­dia, Sar­fraz Khan and his team­mates up­set South Africa in a rain-hit match on Wed­nes­day to re­vive their Group B cam­paign in Birmingham.

Con­sis­tency has never been their strong point but Afridi, who fea­tured in Pak­istan’s five Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy cam­paigns, said the win has the po­ten­tial to trans­form the young side.

“It is heart­en­ing to see Pak­istan play the way it did and I hope it con­tin­ues its good work and brings smiles on the faces of our pas­sion­ate cricket fans,” Afridi wrote in a col­umn for cricket govern­ing body web­site www. icc-cricket.com.

“I also feel that Pak­istan shouldn’t be ruled out of ti­tle con­tention any­more. The win can make this side do some amaz­ing things in the tour­na­ment. Once again write Pak­istan off at your own peril,” he added.

Pace­man Hasan Ali led Pak­istan’s im­proved bowl­ing per­for­mance against South Africa, claim­ing 3/24 to help re­strict the Proteas to 219/8 in 50 overs.

Pak­istan were 119/3 in 27 overs, 19 runs ahead un­der the Duck­worth-Lewis method when rain in­ter­vened to give them their first win in the tour­na­ment.

Afridi was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with 23-year-old Ali, who walked away with the Man of the Match award.

“I don’t re­call Pak­istan fast bowlers de­liv­er­ing match-win­ning per­for­mances in re­cent years, hence Hasan’s three-wicket spell made me re­ally happy.

“He is a ma­ture bowler for his age.” – Reuters

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