Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, in a recent instagram live session with renowned host and anchor Zainab Abbas, recalled how he famously led Pakistan to victory against arch-rivals India by hitting 2 huge sixes to Ravichandran Ashwin in the 2014 Asia Cup final.
The Pakistan-India encounter in the Asia Cup 2014 final was a game not many fans from either side of the border would ever forget.
Bowling first, the Men in Green did a fairly decent job of taming a rather strong Indian batting lineup, but they ended up leaking runs towards the end to give the blues a competitive score – by Pakistan’s standards.
The reply was no different from what the Pakistan batting lineup is known for. After a 71-run opening partnership, the Men in Green were reeling at 113/4. Hafeez then played the anchor role, but too much was left towards the end to be handled by anyone but Afridi.
With ten needed off the last over, Afridi was the last or perhaps the only hope. Pakistan had been there many times, and Afridi had won them many matches before. But what followed was perhaps to be remembered as the most memorable sixes after Javed Miandad’s heroics in 1986.
The last over was made even more dramatic with the wicket of Ajmal off the first ball, and for a moment Pakistan had the scare of being bowled out with Afridi stuck at the other end. But on the next delivery – very similar to the one which bowled Ajmal – Junaid Khan was able to steal a single at square leg.
From there, it was the legendary Boom Boom vs Ashwin, with every result possible. The first ball was a massive swipe that landed well over long on. The next ball, with 3 to win off 3, was skewered by Afridi but his impressive strength meant it also sailed over the ropes for six. It couldn’t have been scripted any better.
Upon being asked what was going through his mind when walking to the crease, Afridi said:
“Zainab, if I had anything in my brain at that time, I might have ended up doing nothing. As soon as I reached the crease, I told Saeed Ajmal to try and defend and hit a single at any cost. However, he didn’t listen and did what I usually do. He scooped the ball and got out. “
Afridi then recalled how he gave the same advice to the newcomer Junaid Khan.
“Ashwin was bowling really well. He was turning the ball. When Junaid came down, I told him to defend with a straight bat and score a single at any cost. Thankfully he scored a single and allowed me to finally come face to face with Ashwin.”
Boom Boom revealed how he got Ashwin double-minded by staring at the leg-side before the ball was bowled.
“I played a little game with Ashwin. I started looking at the leg side so that Ashwin feels that I was going to hit at that area. I did that so that Ashwin wouldn’t bowl an off-spin and that is exactly what ended up happening. He threw his trademark finger spin and I had already targetted extra cover and thats where he luckily bowled. I hit a solid shot and thankfully it was a six.
Then the next ball was very hard. On that ball, I didn’t middle the shot. I was very double minded and when the ball was in the air, I was confused whether it would fall just short of the boundary. However, thank God it was a six and a memorable evening for us.” Afridi concluded.