New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham compared Pakistan’s new pace bowling sensation Shaheen Afridi with Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman after their Wednesday’s six-wicket loss to the side in Birmingham.
Left-arm pacer Shaheen rocked New Zealand with a brilliant opening spell that cost him just 11 runs in seven overs for three wickets before he finished with 3-28, bowling his full overs.
This was Shaheen’s first serious shot to fame, having being spotted as a potential international player for Pakistan at a very young age.
On a tricky pitch at Edgbaston, Shaheen found the right length and an adequate amount of seam movement to leave New Zealand unsettled after they opted to bat first.
Neesham rescued the side from 46-4 to 237-6 with an unbeaten 97 but it was not enough to prevent their first defeat of the tournament.
‘He’s obviously a quality bowler, I think. He had a really good run to the Under-19 World Cup not too long ago, and he sort of kept taking good strides on the international team,’ Neesham said of Shaheen.
‘I think facing him is quite similar to facing Mustafiz from Bangladesh, the way his slower ball actually bounces at you, and I think today it obviously suited his style of bowling well and he put us under a lot of pressure,’ he added.
Mustafiz failed to trouble New Zealand on a similar pitch at The Oval when Bangladesh nearly turned a score of 244 to a winning total.
After the hard job done by the spinners, the Tigers expected Mustafiz to deliver some late blows but New Zealand’s tail-enders found him not too hot to handle.
He finished the game with 0-48, bowling 7.1 overs as Bangladesh suffered a heart-breaking two-wicket loss, which now put their semi-final prospect on a difficult spot.
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