First ball for Rohit Sharma. Afridi runs through the gate as Pakistan fans jog, dance, and sing, “Shaheen! Shaheen! Shaheen!” in Dubai. A group of fans even traveled from Japan in the midst of a pandemic to experience something special from Pakistan.
Afridi nails a swaying Yorker, not of the Bananaswing variety, but one of sufficient form (and rear) that it torpedoed Rohit’s hind leg. Bang: That hits in the middle of the middle stump. Afridi knows it. We know. Rohit knows it, but he still can’t leave it out.
Afridi turns and walks away cheering, even before referee Chris Gaffaney lifts his finger. He runs in the direction of the square leg and performs the “Starman pose“, a tribute to the other Afridi, but also one that is now his. Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan lean on Afridi’s shoulders and absorb it all. Afridi makes it very special for all Pakistan fans.
Gets super silly when Afridi bursts through KL Rahul‘s defense on her next over. Rahul plays for the angle, but he leans violently against the angle again, which also leaves the other starter clueless. ‘Starman‘ Shaheen runs back to Square Leg and blows kisses to the crowd.
It is pure theater. The first ball for Kohli is (of course) an inswinger, who stabs himself over an inside edge on the side of the leg.
Afridi prepares Kohli for one inswinger after another. Kohli tries to counter this by standing outside the crease and occasionally buzzing around it.
Kohli raises his outside leg back to create swing space and hits overhead. You usually don’t take risks in any format on the first few trades, but Afridi forces you to do something else. The ball does not swing.
Instead, he slides on the bat as Kohli opens his hips and uses his wrist to push Afridi over Midon and into the Pakistani dugout as only he can.
Open his gloves. Put them back on.
She puts her bat around her legs. Indian fans find their vote, but it is Afridi who owns the power play and puts India at 36 for 3 with Hasan Ali claiming Suryakumar Yadav’s wicket.
Pakistan will continue to score 43-0 in their power play and will ultimately chase 152 with all ten wickets behind.
“He did bowl really well with the new ball,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference.
“I think he hit the right areas to pick up wickets. In T20 cricket, you need good execution to pick up wickets with the new ball and certainly, he did that.”Credit to him, he put our batsmen under pressure immediately with the new ball.
He ran in with intensity and showed that he’s bowling inconsistent areas.
As batsmen you are forced to be a bit watchful and that spell kind of put us on the back foot immediately and from thereon to get those 20-25 runs towards the end seemed pretty difficult when you lose three wickets for 20  runs.”
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