Comparison between Shahid Afridi’s ducks and fifties.
By Mazher Arshad on October 13th, 2012

There is a strange argument that usually follows after every match, particularly in limited-over Cricket, regarding giving credit or blaming a specific player. For best player of the game there is award Man of the Match, but there isn’t any such accreditation for worst player of the game. That leaves the argument open for those who have to find the worst player while those who argue for best player would simply come up with reference of Man of the Match.

Adam Gilchrist scored 149 out of Australia’s total of 281 in World Cup Final 2007, so all the credit goes to him. Other would argue, there is no guarantee that someone from middle order would have not performed had Gilchrist got out early – Ricky Ponting scored 140 in Final of the previous World Cup. Saeed Ajmal’s 18 off the last over in Semi Final against Australia would be put as argument to blame him, the for argument would be: he defended 17 off the last over in the previous match at the same venue or it was captain’s mistake who made him to bowl from the end with short boundaries.

In Pakistan, such arguments are most common. In a winning cause, it is team effort. For losing cause, there in one someone who spoiled the game and earned them a defeat. If we zero in those debates, the arguments mostly depict the style and technique of players, not the player himself – that’s what those with meticulous nature would easily conclude. Mostly the argument, in losing cause, revolves around batsmen, for getting failed or playing too slow.

For example, in Misbah-ul-Haq vs Shahid Afridi’s case. The reason of argument is either playing slow or going for the broke right from the start. Those who prefer to attack, never mind the state and conditions of the game, would blame to a batsman even if he ends up scoring suitable runs (the same reason Mohammad Hafeez was blamed in recent Semi Final against Sri Lanka for starting off too slowly, notwithstanding he scored most runs in the match from either sides). In Afridi’s case, even if he fails, his courage and style of aggressiveness is endorsed, for he has won us many matches in the past with his brutal batting. There is no dispute over it.

I don’t know if it is right to blame one player for an entire defeat when you are believer of ‘team efforts’. I don’t support the notion of blaming one player. But there is something, may be intangible, that slants your views to blame one person in defeats. And by the same token, compels you to give credit to a sole player in winning cause.

Shahid Afridi is the latest victim of the blame game. Rather than having the comparison with some other player – saying that if Tom, Dick or Harry had played in his place the result could have been different – let’s analyze his own performances to see how the result gets changed for Pakistan.

6 Ducks in Twenty20 Internationals.

Of Shahid Afridi’s six scores of 0 in Twenty20 Internationals, 4 times Pakistan lost the match. The two times when Pakistan won, both had exceptional innings first by Umar Akmal and second time by Umar Gul. Akmal’s inning was recently termed as 2nd best ever in history of Twenty20 Internationals by ESPNCricinfo.

What the stats don’t tell about these 6 ducks is at what stage of the game they appeared. They were not in the penultimate or last over of the innings when batsmen go for broke. The ducks rather appeared at stage when an innings could have been built and he could drag Pakistan out of trouble. Notably, 5 of these ducks came in World Twenty20s. Following we discuss those four where Pakistan lost.

1. World T20 Final vs India 2007

81 runs required off 51 balls with 5 wickets in hand. Shahid Afridi tries to hit Iran Pathan out of the park the first ball he faces. It goes high, doesn’t get the elevation, caught at mid-off.

2. Super Eight Match vs Sri Lanka World T20 2009

50 runs required off 27 balls with 6 wickets in hand. Shahid Afridi goes for slog-sweep, first ball against Muttiah Muralitharan, all he manages is a fielder at deep midwicket. [He hit the same shot to the same bowler in Final of the same event at the same ground, that went for Six, may be because it was not first ball]

3. Super Eight Match vs England World T20 2010

Pakistan 76-3 after 10.3 overs. The scoring momentum is with Pakistan. Shahid Afridi tries to take single off first ball which was never there for the taking. He just nudges it in the close field and starts off running carelessly, turns back after few strides, but it is too late. [He is captain of Pakistan]

4. Semi Final vs Sri Lanka World T20 2012

Pakistan need 49 off 34 balls with 5 wickets in hand. First ball, Shahid Afridi misses to read the arc of ball and plays onto his stumps. An awkward shot, even if he connects it, question remains where would it land? [Not as careless as are the other ducks, but then a player with 16-year-experience would have known it needed a stride forward to forestall the effect of the ball]

Four 50s in Twenty20 Internationals

In his six-year international career of Twenty20 Cricket, Shahid Afridi has managed 4 fifties, all of them match-winning A reason behind this small tally of fifties could be his batting in late order. Three of his 50s have come when he batted at Number 3 or 4. Each time he scored a half-century, he was Man of the Match.

Since he bats down the order, so even if see his scores of 30+ in Twenty20s, only once out of 8 times Pakistan lost the match. Following we take a look at his fifties.

1. Semi Final against South Africa in World T20 2009

Pakistan lose first wicket in second over. Shahid Afridi is sent at one down to rescue the innings. Soon Kamran Akmal goes back too and Pakistan are 28-2 in third over. Afridi from there has partnership of 67 off 56 balls with Shoaib Malik. He ends scoring 51 off 34 balls, that is his first ever international fifty in T20 cricket. [Let alone hitting the first ball, Shahid Afridi didn't hit any six in whole innings yet managed Strike Rate of 150.00. Most of his shots were risk free]

2. Final against Sri Lanka in World T20 2009

In chase of World T20 Final, Shahid Afridi comes to bat at start of 8th over when Pakistan lose their first wicket and soon have another partnership with Shoaib Malik, this time even better than the previous one – unbeaten 76 off 57 balls. He leads Pakistan to glory of World T20 2009. [Arguably his best ever knock for Pakistan beside his Test century in Chennai 1999]

3. Only T20 against Sri Lanka in 2009

Pakistan 35-2 at end of fourth over. Shahid Afridi scores his third consecutive fifty in Twenty20 internationals that earns him 3rd consecutive Man of the Match award too. [In his 13-year career, it was his first ever match as Pakistan captain in any format of the game]

4. Second Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in 2012

Pakistan in deep trouble at 41-4 after 10.1 overs. A must win match for them to draw the 2-match series. Shahid Afridi batting at sixth number ends with scoring unbeaten 52 off 33 balls, that helps Pakistan to add 81 runs in last ten overs and take them to a total of 122 on a tricky Hambantota pitch. [This too date is Shahid Afridi's last fifty in international cricket]

Trivia: The Hambantota Twenty20 was the last time Shahid Afridi hit a six in international cricket. Since then, he has played 13 matches.

It is up to the readers to decide whether the performance of one player affects the outcome of the match or not

7 Responses to “Comparison between Shahid Afridi’s ducks and fifties.”

  1. Naqash Ali says:

    @ naqash_ali on twitter Afridi v still love u….

  2. Haris says:

    Firsr of all excellent work Mazhar for this article, I know how hard and how much time talking to write such article.

    I believe yes afridi some times is responsible alone for defeat. but when misbah ul HAQ starts with sluggish, he is very much also responsible for defeats, e.g semi-final against india 2011, and t20 against eng in which we have to chase score round 120 this summer in dubai.

    But in most of games. One player is mostly not responsible, but sometimes surely yess

  3. Mashood says:

    correction, maybe it would have been a typing error but adam gilchrist scored 149 in 2007 wc final, not in 2003 wc final, ricky ponting scored 140 in 2003 wc final.

  4. Axee says:

    This is a master piece, with all accurate figures , I appreciate your efforts admin .”)

  5. Afnan says:

    everyone blames ajmal for that semi final last over but they dont see that even M Amir gave 20+ runs in 2nd last over n then everyone blames misbah which started from t20 wc 2007 , pool match against india ,pak were going good n then suddenly wickets fell , it was almost over for pakistan but misbah stood there but couldnt finish in the end , then the final , pak were cruising but suddenly around 70-5 afridi came n gone , all over for pakistan but misbah played an unbelievable innings but lost in the end still no one was blamed in that match except misbah , the t20 match in dubai against england after which misbah was called tuk tuk in which dernbach made the match for england , umar akmal was there n he was also unable to connect a single ball n same happend with misbah but who was blamed only misbah

  6. Faraz says:

    I need Misbah inning summary too please.
    This one was a great article especially first one by any analyst which was not biased .

  7. Moosa says:

    well its all depend on situation that a duck by a player has how much disadvantage for team,,,, we cannot blame a single player for a defeat,,,,, if he made zero then what are other doing ,,,, why they are bringing match into such condition that one player 0 can cost u a match,,, in afridi case now we should consider him a bowler & not more,,,, his runs will be bonus for team,,,if he cannot learn about batting in 16 years then he is not a batsman….. he is a bowler as simple as that….

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