'Felt like I was playing in Pakistan' - Shaheen Afridi reveals emotions after record-setting spell in T20 Blast 2023
Shaheen Shah Afridi's electrifying opening over in the Vitality Blast match against the Birmingham Bulls showcased his exceptional bowling skills.
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Shaheen Shah Afridi's opening over is an exhilarating spectacle, reminiscent of a Formula One race. Bursting with adrenaline, the Pakistani speedster, currently representing Nottinghamshire in the T20 Blast, managed to claim four wickets in his very first over against Birmingham Bulls. Despite his heroic efforts, Nottinghamshire ultimately succumbed to defeat by two wickets in a rain-affected match.
Shaheen's start was far from ideal, as he conceded five wides off his very first delivery. Nevertheless, he swiftly bounced back, dismissing batters with his first, second, fifth, and sixth legal balls. Birmingham Bears' captain, Alex Davies, collapsed to the ground, unable to negotiate Shaheen's toe-crushing yorker.
Following his departure, Chris Benjamin's stumps were disturbed as he was cleaned up while attempting a premeditated scoop shot. Subsequently, two singles were scored before Shaheen claimed two more wickets on the final two balls of the over. Dan Mousley became the victim of a stunning one-handed catch by Stone at short cover, while Ed Barnard's stumps were shattered by another sensational yorker on the very first ball he faced.
"We deserved to win, but they played well in the last few overs after the rain. I had never before taken four wickets in my first over. Though winning the game would have been much better, it still felt amazing. We, unfortunately, came up short," Shaheen was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
He further expressed his delight at the overwhelming support he received from the crowd, stating, "The way the crowd supported me was truly heartwarming. While running in to bowl, it felt as if I was playing in Pakistan. I have formed strong bonds with my teammates here; it feels like a family."
The rain delay had a significant impact on the game, altering its course. "The rain changed everything. We couldn't grip the ball properly, but that's cricket for you—you can't control the weather," Shaheen added.
Despite Shaheen's exceptional performance, Nottinghamshire's loss by two wickets was largely attributed to the influence of rain. Moreover, they suffered a setback with Olly Stone's injury, as he hobbled off the field after bowling mere three balls.
Birmingham's victory was spearheaded by Rob Yates, who scored an impressive 65 runs off 46 deliveries. Additionally, valuable contributions from Glenn Maxwell (19), Jacob Bethell (27), and Jake Lintott (27 not out) played a crucial role in securing the win. Nottinghamshire's cause was further hindered by conceding 22 extras, adding to their woes.