By BV Swagath
Shahid Afridi made a dream comeback in the Pakistani team smashing a 55-ball 76 and then recording the second best bowling figures ever in ODI history – 7 for 12! Hosts West Indies were at the receiving end to this brilliant all-round show from Lala to lose the opening ODI against Pakistan at the Providence Stadium by 126 runs.
Asked to bat first under overcast conditions, Pakistan were in tatters at 47 for 5 in 20.1 overs when Shahid Afridi joined his Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. Afridi went ballistic striking six fours and 5 sixes to power his team to respectability while adding 120 runs for the 6th wicket.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq worked hard to score 52 from 121 balls with just the one four. Pakistan thanks to Afridi and Misbah posted a competitive 224 for 9. The visitors were wrecked apart by rookie fast bowler Jason Holder who produced dream figures of 10-4-13-4.
West Indies chasing 225 were off to a terrible start with Johnson Charles losing his off stump to the giant Mohammad Irfan in the second ball of their innings. The hosts just couldn’t get going because of a hostile spell from Irfan. There was a big bonus for Pakistan when Chris Gayle was run out by a direct throw to leave the homeside at 7 for 3 in 5 overs.
Shahid Afridi with his quickish leg breaks demolished West Indies who were already on the backfoot. The 33-year-old recorded magical figures of 9-3-12-7 which was only second best to Sri Lanka’s Chaminda Vaas’ figures of 8 for 19 against Bangladesh. Afridi’s destruction saw West Indies fold to a paltry 98 in 41 overs.