Pakistan finished their topsy-turvy World Cup 2019 campaign on a high, beating Bangladesh comprehensively by 94 runs on the back of a century from Imam-ul-Haq and Shaheen Afridi's six-wicket burst at Lord's.
Batting first, Pakistan set up a target of 316 runs- courtesy a splendid ton by the elegant left-handed opener Imam-ul-Haq. Babar Azam kept up his good form with a valuable contribution of 96 runs.
Chasing a relatively tough target of 316 against an in-form Pakistan bowling unit, Bangladesh fizzled out on the batting front as Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan's talented teenage sensation scalped six wickets, giving away just 35 runs from his 9.1 overs.
Shaheen got rid of Tamil Iqbal (8) early in the innings, outfoxing the flamboyant dasher by a snaring off-cutter. He also ended Shakib Al Hasan's prolific World Cup run, inducing an edge that was snaffled safely by captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Mahmudullah (29) was bowled by an absolute peach of a yorker from the southpaw, with Liton Das (32) and Mohammad Saifuddin (0) also fell prey to his skillful variations. In his final over, Shaheen castled Mustafizur Rahman to become the first Pakistan bowler to pick up six wickets in a World Cup encounter.
A record for the teenage sensation
Picking up a five-wicket haul in his side's final league stage game, against Bangladesh, he became the youngest bowler to have achieved the feat in the history of World Cup and also broke Shahid Afridi's eight-year old record of best figures for a Pakistan bowler (5/16 v Kenya, 2011) in World Cup history.
Warming the bench for a couple of games in the beginning, Shaheen has been quite brilliant in the latter half of the tournament. Right from his World Cup debut against Australia, the lanky speedster has been on song, bowling exceptionally well, finishing the tournament with 16 wickets to his name from six matches.
Following a successful stint in the Under-19 World Cup where he became Pakistan's highest wicket-taker with 12 dismissals, the tall pacer was fast-tracked into the national side. With just nine months of international experience, the lanky fast bowler was included in the squad for the 2019 World Cup.
Shaheen Afridi is a great asset for Pakistan, leading into the future. The legendary Pakistan pace bowler Wasim Akram has already heaped praises on the youngster, labeling him as a superstar in the making.
The skill of raw pace blended with a sagacious composure makes Shaheen, hailing from Peshawar stand apart from the rest. Undoubtedly, Shaheen is one of the biggest positives Pakistan will take out from this World Cup.
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