Georgetown (Guyana): Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi made one of the more remarkable comebacks in international cricket by leading his side to a crushing 126-run victory over West Indies in the first one-day international match at Guyana National Stadium. Afridi returned with a career-best bowling figures of 7 for 12.
Afridi, who was not a part of Champions Trophy squad, returned with the best-ever ODI bowling figures by a Pakistani and the second best overall, by ratting the West Indies batting line-up. He claimed seven wickets for 12 runs to rout the home side for just 98 off 41 overs after having top-scored with a typically swashbuckling 76 in the visitors' total of 224 for 9 on Sunday.
"I try hard and I back myself and I want to thank people back home," said Afridi. "It's not time for me to just survive in the team, but to give a lot to the team. I tried to stay positive. Whenever I got the ball in my zone, I went for it. And what a pitch it was for me to bowl on. I just kept it simple and it worked."
This match represented yet another stunning spike in the 17-year international career of Afridi whose ability to delight and entertain with his extravagant manner, has often been overshadowed by an almost chronic failure to deliver at the most critical of times.
Fortunately for Pakistan, it was not one of those times and his impact on the match started with his domination of a 120-run sixth-wicket partnership with his captain, Misbah-ul-Haq (52) and the pair rescued their team from 47 for 5 after gangling fast-medium bowler Jason Holder had wrecked the top order in finishing with the excellent figures of four for 13.
While Misbah laboured towards yet another workmanlike half-century, consuming 121 deliveries, Afridi's knock was a hurricane by comparison, powered by five sixes and six fours off just 55 deliveries.
He looked well on the way to completing a hundred but perished in the 39th over, being caught by Darren Sammy at deep midwicket off the bowling of Kieron Pollard.


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