As Afridi counts down to his final days in the international cricket, we look back at some of his greatest efforts on the field that characterized the enigma that is Shahid Afridi.
Tests: 141(191) vs. India, Chennai, 30th January 1999
In the epic match, remembered largely for the Sachin classic that almost single-handidly won India the game and the victory lap afterwards, there featured a blitz like no other that comes only second to the Saqlain’s trickery in the win contribution. Playing only his second test match, Afridi put all doubts to his test credentials to rest with a mighty fine 141 on a slow and low surface to give Pakistan a lead that proved just good enough for them to snatch what was a famous win.
ODIs: 102(46) vs. India, Kanpur, 15th April 2005
With the six-match series tied at 2-2 and a stiff target to combat on a tricky pitch, Afridi unleashed an onslaught like only he can as Pakistan cruised through comfortably with 8 overs in the bank. The assault included the then joint-second fastest international century off only 45 balls with the team fifty coming in mere 21 minutes and as he got out in the 15th over, the team score read 131 and the match was as good as won.
T20s: 51(34) vs. South Africa, Nottingham, 18th June 2009
Coming one drop in a World T20 semi, Afridi played a rare sensible knock before delivering a fine spell to deliver the knock-out punch to South Africa in yet another semi-final. The knock made sure Pakistan had a decent score on the board which proved seven runs too much for the Proteas as Pakistan cruised through to their second consecutive WT20 final.
T20s: 54*(40) vs. Sri Lanka, London, 21st June 2009
On the back of some disciplined bowling, Pakistan restricted Sri Lanka to a paltry 138 on a placid pitch with Afridi delivering yet another game changing spell but Pakistan and pressure chases don’t often make a good pair which meant the match still had some life in it. Afridi though had other ideas and carried the country’s hopes on his shoulders as he guided Pakistan to their maiden WT20 title with another matured knock.
ODIs: 76(55) vs. West Indies, Guyana, 14th July 2013
On a two-paced pitch, Jason Holder wrecked havoc with a magnificent new ball spell of 8-4-8-4 that left Pakistan reeling at 47-5 as Afridi strode out to the middle to join Misbah. The duo started the resurrection act and added 120 runs for the sixth wicket as Pakistan finished with a terrific score of 224 runs. While Misbah went about in his usual way, Afridi seized the moment and played yet another match-defining inning and if that wasn’t enough, he later returned to pick up an unbelievable 7 wickets off only 12 runs to give Pakistan an unlikely win.
ODIs: 59(25) vs. Bangladesh, Mirpur, 4th March 2014
Bangladesh recoded their highest ever ODI score to give Pakistan an improbable target of 327 to chase. Riding on Shehzad’s century, Pakistan led the chase honorably but in order to give that final push, lost a couple of quick wickets which made the task that much tougher. When Afridi came to the crease, Pakistan required a highly unlikely 102 off 50 balls to not only register a win but also qualify for the finals alongside Sri Lanka. Afridi with his wide range of strokes just did that as he flayed the bowlers to all parts to register one of the greatest wins for the team.