Shahid Afridi reveals how he smartly tricked Ravi Ashwin to hit him for two back to back sixes in Asia Cup 2014
That match against Pakistan was important for India for its survival in the tournament as it had lost the previous match against Sri Lanka after a win over Bangladesh in the first match.
Updated - Jul 10, 2020 11:53 am
The Asia Cup 2020 was officially postponed by the Asian Cricket Council on Thursday in the view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The tournament would now be hosted by Sri Lanka in 2021. Indian cricket team has dominated the Asia Cup for several years. It is the only nation to have won the continental title seven times followed by Sri Lanka who is second with five victories.
Though India’s most title clashes have been with Sri Lanka, the Men in Blue had some thrilling encounters against arch-rivals Pakistan too in the tournament. One such clash took place in 2014 when the Indian team was led by Virat Kohli as then captain MS Dhoni was rested due to an injury. That match against Pakistan was important for India for its survival in the tournament as it had lost the previous match against Sri Lanka after a win over Bangladesh in the first match.
The most anticipated match between arch-rivals started with Pakistan winning the toss and electing to bowl first. In the 50 over match, Pakistan managed to restrict the Indian batting line-up at a total of 245/8. Though Pakistan had a good start while chasing the total, the Indian bowlers quickly thrashed the opponents in the middle order, making the chances of India winning the match high.
However, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Maqsood then stitched a key partnership to take their team to the doorstep of victory but both were dismissed in quick succession as the match headed for a tense finale. The Pakistan team needed 13 runs in the last two overs with their main batsman Shahid Afridi still standing on the crease. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a penultimate over picking up two wickets and giving just three runs in the second last over. This meant that Pakistan still needed 10 runs off 6 balls.
For the last over, captain Virat Kohli handed the ball to Ravichandran Ashwin who had already taken three wickets in the inning. Not disappointing his captain, the off-spinner sent Saeed Ajmal back to the pavilion on the first delivery in the last over. This resulted in the last man Junaid Khan being on the striker end with Afridi being on the non-striker’s end. However, the momentum of the match shifted to the Pakistan side when Junaid somehow managed to take a single to give Shahid strike. The hard-hitter then shot two back to back sixes to take his team to a memorable victory in the last over.
Shahid Afridi narrates the story of the match against India in Asia Cup 2014
Recently, the former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi recalled the match against India in Asia Cup 2014 in an exclusive interview with cricket presenter Zainab Abbas.
“Saeed Ajmal was batting with me. I told him to put bat on ball and get a single. I told him not to go for the sweep shot but he ended up playing one and lost his wicket. Ashwin was bowling well, he was getting some purchase from the track too,” Afridi told Zainab
“Then Junaid Khan came in. I told him the same thing, just get a single. He somehow managed to get me back on strike,” he added.
Afridi then revealed the story of hitting back to back two sixes which made his team in that match. Afridi said that he tricked Ashwin to not bowl the off-spin to him rather bowl a leg-spin.
“What I did against Ashwin was to look towards the leg side. I wanted to trick him so that he thinks that I am going to hit on the leg side. The idea behind it was to force the off-spinner not to bowl his off-spin. And Ashwin did exactly that. He bowled the leg-spin. I hit it over the extra cover region for a six. The next delivery was a difficult one, I did not get it in the middle. I was in two minds, I was thinking will it go over the ropes or not. But in the end, the ball sailed over the fielder for a six. I breathed a sigh of relief,” Afridi concluded.
That loss against Pakistan resulted in India being dismissed from the tournament and Pakistan reaching the finals to face Sri Lanka. However, Pakistan team couldn’t conclude the tournament with a victory as they were thrashed by Sri Lanka in the finals. Notably, Pakistan has won the Asia Cup for only two times in 2000 and 2012.