Ex-Pakistan Prime Minister takes indirect swipe at Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli while praising Shaheen Afridi, starts trend
Shehbaz Sharif was mighty impressed by Shaheen's spell. He took to X (formerly Twitter) to praise the left-arm pacer.
An India vs Pakistan contest is not just another cricket match. No matter how much cricketers from both sides try to play it down, the tension on the field and among fans, former players and even politicians is unmissable. The latest addition to the glorious rivalry between these two cricketing giants was the Asia Cup 2023 Group A match at the Pallekele International Stadium on Saturday.
Rain might have had the last laugh by forcing a washout, but Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya provided enough moments of brilliance. So good was Shaheen's spell with the new ball that it attracted a strong reaction from former Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Shaheen did not get off to an ideal start. In his quest to remove India openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill early, he was far too full. He strayed on Rohit's pads on a couple of occasions and was clipped for boundaries. Just when it was looking like it was going to be a rare off day in the left-arm pacer's career, rain came as a saviour in the fifth over. The short delay of 15-20 minutes gave Shaheen the chance to reassess.
When play resumed, he was a different bowler altogether. It took him just three balls to make an impact in the match by dismissing India captain Rohit with a near-unplayable delivery. In his next over, he accounted for Virat Kohli. This time the delivery was not as good as Rohit's but the adjustment in his length was the key.
Shaheen pulled his length back just a tad and that did wonders for him. There was another change that he made after the rain break. Instead of looking to swing the ball, he decided to hit the pitch hard. The ball which got Kohli was a result of the latter. Due to the dual nature of the Pallekele pitch, the ball did not reach Kohli as quickly as it should have and the former India captain dragged it back onto his stumps. Shaheen, who finished with figures of 4/35, became the first bowler to bowl Rohit and Kohli in the same ODI.
Here's what Sharif posted
Shehbaz Sharif was mighty impressed by Shaheen's spell. He took to X (formerly Twitter) to praise the left-arm pacer. But while doing so he took an indirect swipe at India stalwarts Rohit and Kohli. "THEY CANNOT PLAY HIM," posted the former Pakistan PM.
The post went viral instantly and attracted a mixed reaction from cricket fans across the globe. "They cannot play him," started trending with former Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz also joining the queue.
Coming back to the match, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya produced a wonderful rescue act after Shaheen and Haris Rauf's early burst but rain forced India and Pakistan to split points in an Asia Cup match that had all the ingredients of a thrilling finish here on Saturday. Before the heavens opened up, India posted 266 all out in 48.5 overs. Kishan (82 off 81 balls) and Pandya (87 off 90 balls) milked 138 runs for the fifth wicket stand off 141 balls to lift their side from 66 for 4 in 14.1 overs.
The no result meant that Pakistan ended their Group A proceedings with 3 points, and it also assured them of a place in the Super Four of the tournament. India, who logged a point from their opening fixture, are expected to beat Nepal on Monday and progress to the Super Four.
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