Twitter Reactions: Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam and Rizwan expose chinks in Team India's armour

Twitter Reactions: Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam and Rizwan expose chinks in Team India’s armour

Afridi won the Player of the Match award for his sensational bowling.

Shaheen Afridi
Shaheen Afridi. (Photo by Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Pakistan were waiting for this moment to arrive since 1992! Finally, it came for them under the captaincy of their superstar player Babar Azam. Pakistan have managed to beat India in a World Cup game (50-over and 20-over World Cups combined) for the first time. The Men in Green were spot on with their execution of plans. It goes without saying that apart from Babar, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi were the catalysts of this historic win.

Earlier, India were rocked early thanks to Shaheen Afridi who breathed fire with the ball in his opening spell. The man delivered an unplayable in-swinging yorker to Rohit Sharma to pin him in front of the stumps and then castled KL Rahul with a brilliant in-swinger. At 6/2, India were under pressure very early in the game and needed their skipper Virat Kohli to spend time in the middle.

Suryakumar Yadav joined him in the middle as the duo added 25 runs for the third wicket. A couple of good strokes also were witnessed but Hasan Ali struck at the right time to send back Surya. The innings once again went into the rebuilding phase with Kohli and Rishabh Pant making sure there is no collapse. Rotation of strike continued even as Pakistan continued to keep it tight backing Shaheen’s good start with the ball.

After the 10th over mark, Rishabh Pant decided to take on the bowling and smashed a couple of one-handed sixes to get the crowd going. Both the sixes came off Hasan Ali, one over backward square leg and the other over long-off. At the same time, Kohli made sure he held one end as the partnership went past the 50-run mark. Just when the southpaw was opening up, Shadab Khan induced a false shot off him to pick up a wicket at the crunch time.

Ravindra Jadeja was sent to the middle probably to keep the left-right combination going. But he couldn’t get off the blocks straight away. Virat Kohli, however, upped the ante and increased his strike-rate which was hovering around 100 by then. A few cracking strokes were unveiled as well even as he brought up his half-century. But Shaheen Afridi came back for the final over of his spell to nip out the India skipper for a well-made 57.

India never got the expected finishing kick but runs kept coming as they added 51 runs in the last five overs. The Men in Blue reached 151 runs for the loss of seven wickets in their 20 overs. No wonder Shaheen was the best bowler for Pakistan as he returned with the figures of 3/31. Hasan Ali picked up a couple but was expensive conceding 44 runs while Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf were economical and picked up a wicket each as well.

Babar-Rizwan show in the chase

At the halfway stage, the 152-run target looked competitive. But Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan literally didn’t give any chance to their arch-rivals. The duo calculated the chase perfectly making sure they didn’t give any early wicket for India and slowly, dew took over control of the ball making the pitch easy to bat.

Virat Kohli tried everything making multiple changes in the bowling attack but couldn’t break the opening partnership. Rizwan was busy early on the innings while his captain made sure to soak in the pressure. Determination was visible in the Pakistan camp when they were bowling itself and their openers just made it a walk in the park.

As the innings progressed, Babar exuded his class with eye-catching strokes while Rizwan was at his best hitting timely boundaries. India literally had no answers to the skill and ability on show with the bat and the desperation only grew with no wicket falling at all.

Both Rizwan and Babar Azam got to their respective half-centuries and the required run-rate came in control in the last five overs of the game. The Indian fans would’ve hoped for a twist in the tale but Pakistan had played a perfect game on the day finally when it mattered the most for them all these years. They had waited for this moment since 1992 and finally managed to beat India in a World Cup game.

Pakistan didn’t even lose a single wicket in the chase stamping their immense authority on the opposition. They got over the line comfortably in the end with 13 balls to spare as Rizwan remained unbeaten on 79 with Babar also doing well for his 68* to thump India by 10 wickets.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: