Shahid Afridi relives Asia Cup 2014 win over India, reveals how he tricked Ashwin to hit him for consecutive sixes
While most of India’s title clashes have been with Sri Lanka, India have had some thrilling encounters against arch-rivals Pakistan in the tournament. One such clash took place in the 2014, when the Indians were beaten in the last over by Pakistan.Updated: Jul 10, 2020 09:04 IST
The Asian Cricket Council on Thursday announced that the Asia Cup, to be hosted by Sri Lanka later this year, has been postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Asia Cup is one tournament where the Indian team has held sway over the years. Not only have they won the last two editions of the tournament, India are also the most successful team in its history, winning the continental title on seven occasions, with Sri Lanka placed second with five triumphs.
While most of India’s title clashes have been with Sri Lanka, India have had some thrilling encounters against arch-rivals Pakistan in the tournament. One such clash took place in 2014, when the Indians were beaten in the last over by Pakistan.
It was a tournament where Virat Kohli was leading India as then captain MS Dhoni had to miss out due to injury. India started the tournament well with a win over Bangladesh but a loss against Sri Lanka meant they needed to win against Pakistan to have a good chance of progressing to the final.
In the match played at Dhaka, Pakistan put India in to bat after winning the toss and restricted them to a below par total of 245/8. The Pakistani chase was off to a good start until a clutch of wickets fell in the middle order to hand India the initiative. Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Maqsood then stitched a key partnership to take the team to the doorstep of victory but both were dismissed in quick succession as the match headed for a tense finale.
Shahid Afridi took matters in his own hand and decided to take his team home. Pakistan needed 13 runs to win from the last two overs and were the hot favourites. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a superb penultimate over, picking up two wickets and giving away only three runs to make Pakistan and Afridi’s task very hard.
Kohli turned to his best bowler Ashwin, who had already taken three wickets in the innings and the off-spinner responded by sending back Saeed Ajmal on the first delivery. This brought last man Junaid Khan on strike while Afridi was helplessly looking at proceedings from the non-striker’s end. Junaid somehow managed to get a single and brought Afridi back on strike. The hard-hitter hit back to back sixes to shock the Indians and take his team to a memorable victory.
The former Pakistan captain, known for making controversial comments about India, recently narrated the entire sequence of events during an interview.
“Saeed Ajmal was batting with me. I told him to put bat on ball and get a single. I told him not to go for the sweep shot but he ended up playing one and lost his wicket. Ashwin was bowling well, he was getting some purchase from the track too,” Afridi told cricket presenter Zainab Abbas in the interview.
“Then Junaid Khan came in. I told him the same thing, just get a single. He somehow managed to get me back on strike,” he added.
Afridi then revealed how he tricked Ashwin to get him to not bowl his off-spinner and hit him for two big strikes.
“What I did against Ashwin was to look towards the leg side. I wanted to trick him so that he thinks that I am going to hit on the leg side. The idea behind it was to force the off-spiner not to bowl his off-spin. And Ashwin did exactly that. He bowled the leg-spin. I hit it over the extra cover region for a six. The next delivery was a difficult one, I did not get it in the middle. I was in two minds, I was thinking will it go over the ropes or not. But in the end, the ball sailed over the fielder for a six. I breathed a sigh of relief,” Afridi concluded.
That loss meant India failed to reach the final. Pakistan’s joy though was short lived as they lost in the final to Sri Lanka.