First-time in 2011 World Cup Afridi Goes Wicketless

Shahid Afridi, the captain of Pakistan team, is the leading wicket-taker of the tournament. He has taken wickets in all the 7 matches Pakistan played. But against India, he again forgot his magic and delivered expensive wicketless spell of 10 overs, and that resulted in his team’s knock out.

Pre-Semifinal Performances
Before semifinal, in 7 matches he has taken 21 wickets. He has taken wickets in every match and bowled economically, except against New Zealand. In 6 group matches and the quarterfinal against West Indies, he amassed 21 wickets delivering 5-wkt spell twice, 4-wkt spell twice. He claimed 1 wicket each in remaining three matches

Leading Wicket taker
Starting the tournament with a Bang of 5-wkt tally, rather than boom of sixes, he led from the front with his bowling. Zaheer Khan, Southee and others kept chasing him with consistent performances, but his tally of fives and fours of wicket was beyond anyone’s reach. Before playing the semifinal, he was 4 ahead of Zaheer Khan, who has taken 17 wickets in as many matches. Southee of New Zealand was second with 18 wickets, after the Kiwis lost the semifinals against Sri Lanka.

The road to 21 wickets
Contributing heavily in Pakistani wins, he ran clear of other bowlers in the tournament amassing 14 wickts in first three matches taking two fivers and one four. In the remaining three group matches, one of which resulted in defeat against New Zealand, he could take just one wicket each. Just when it appeared that teams have figured out how to play magical Afridi’s balls, he surprised West Indies in quarterfinals with 4-wicket haul, his second of the tournament and reached to 21 wickets tally.

Wicketless Semifinal Against Arch Rival India
Indians have the best batting attck. But more that in the tournament, they also emerged as the best batsmen against spin. Afridi must be aware that Indians would be ready against his bowling. Indians neutralised him and did not let him remain economic too, extracting 45 runs of his 10 over spell. Yet, the bigger surprise was his fellow spinners Ajmal and part-time spinner Hafeez were economic and effective against the same Indian batting line-up.

Best Bowler of the tournament
The wicketless show against India does not take away any credit from his bowling in the tournament. He has been the dominant factor in Pakistan’s surprisingly successful tournament. Grabbing 4 wins for Pakistan from his 7 matches, he is the best bowler of the tournament.

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