Colombo, Sep 10 (SocialNews.XYZ) Ever since Shaheen Shah Afridi rattled the Indian batting line-up with a deadly spell of 4-35 at Pallekele last week, all the talk ahead of the Super Four clash was around how the Rohit Sharma-led side will face up the challenge from the premier left-arm pacer.
On Sunday, at the R. Premadasa Stadium, Rohit Sharma set the tone for ratting Pakistan, especially Afridi, by flicking him over square leg for a six on the last ball of the opening over. Though the pitch had little movement to offer, Sharma and Gill were positive in their footwork and even danced down the pitch, which reflected in their strokeplay too.
Though Naseem Shah was holding one end tight with his accurate line and length plus some seam movement to trouble Sharma, Gill didn’t let Afridi settle with three scintillating boundaries hit twice off him in two different overs.
Afridi switched to round the wicket angle and sprayed it full, but to no effect as Gill and Sharma executed a successful takedown to stitch a 121-run opening stand. Though Afridi took out Gill later on for 58 while Sharma fell for 56, the attacking approach yielded solid results for India, who amassed 61 runs in the Power-play.
Former India cricketer Abhinav Mukund believes one should be expecting to get anywhere between 65-70 runs in the first ten overs, irrespective of who the bowler is. “Why split it into left and right armers, I believe the approach is great.”
“There will be high-scoring matches during the World Cup in India, so you need a Power-play score of around 65-70. You cannot expect a 50-55 run Power-play, which is still good but you would expect a 65-70 run Power-play most of the time,” said Mukund on JioCinema’s show ‘Insiders Live’.
With Afridi pushed out of the bowling attack initially by Gill’s scintillating onslaught against the new ball, Mukund thinks the left-arm pacer will come back stronger when the game resumes in the reserve day on Monday, with India at 147/2 in 24.1 overs.
“Also, Shaheen Shah Afridi is a quality bowler, he will go back, look at the footage and be like, 'they are attacking me this way, so let’s get the bouncer out, let’s get the back of the length ball out'. So, it is a cycle, it is going to evolve constantly. He has gone 1-0 earlier, today it is a clear case of 1-1.”