Afridi fires Pakhtoons into T10 League final

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Dubai: Shahid Afridi could not have picked a better stage to show he has lost of none of his skills. The maverick Pakistani all-rounder rolled back the years with emphatic pulls and brutal lofted drives against the helpless Northern Warriors, sending Pakhtoons to the final of the T10 League on Saturday.

It was a performance that brought back memories of the old Afridi.

But when the 37-year-old Afridi walked in to bat in the sixth over, Pakhtoons – 57/4 at that stage after being put into bat – things were not looking great for his team.

And coming into this game, he had scored just eight runs in the tournament.

But Afridi (59 not out, 17 balls, 3 fours, 7 sixes) rediscovered his game – one that once made him one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world.

And the joy of the Sharjah crowd knew no bounds as his exhilarating strokeplay allowed Pakhtoons to post a big total of 135/5 in 10 overs, before their bowlers, backed by the impressive Mohammad Irfan (2/20) restricted the Warriors to 122/4, giving the Pakhtoons a memorable 13-run win.

But Rovman Powell’s stunning knock (80 not out, 35 balls, 4 fours, 9 sixes) kept the Warriors in the game until the start of the final over.

Needing 24 off six balls, they could score only 10 against Afghan left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf as the Pakhtoons win sparked wild celebrations among the Afridi fans at the Sharjah stadium.

“The team is very confident and very motivated. It was a good win against a good team. And I am very happy with my innings. The crowd was expecting this innings,” Afridi said at the post-match press conference.

Brief scores: Pakhtoons 135/5 in 10 overs (Shahid Afridi 59 not out, Shafiqullah 22; Hardus Viljoen 3/26) beat Northern Warriors 122/4 in 10 overs (Rovman Powell 80 not out, Lendl Simmons 24; Mohammad Irfan 2/20) by 13 runs.

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