Probuddha Bhattacharjee ∙ Nov 14 2022, 9:30 AM

What if Shaheen Afridi completed his spell in the T20 World Cup 2022 final?

image-laghdpy6Shaheen Afridi Walking off (Source: AP Newsroom)

England and Pakistan faced off in a riveting contest against each other in the final of the T20 World Cup 2022 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia. 

Pakistan after batting first in the match scored 137 runs in their 20 overs. While defending the target, the Pakistani bowlers gave a great fight. But it was Ben Stokes' calm and composed nature that took England across the line.

But was it only cricketing reasons that led England to their second T20 World title? In the 13th over of the match Harry Brook lofted a ball by Shadab Khan toward's the wide long-off region. Shaheen Afridi came running in and slid forward to take the catch but hurt his in the process.

Later, while he came to bowl in the 16th over, he could not continue after the first ball and walked off the field. This cost Babar Azam 11 balls of his prime pacer.

What if, Shaheen Afridi was able to complete his spell of 4 overs? Would Pakistan have lifted their second T20 World title?

The Match situation

When Shaheen Afridi walked off the ground, England needed 41 runs of 29 deliveries to win the match. Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali were out in the middle fighting it out for their team. 

What if.. Shaheen Afridi let the catch go by and prevented his injury?

If Shaheen let Brook survive, then in the 16th over he would have been bowling to Brook and Stokes. Let us first check Shaheen's record in the death overs and see what could have been his impact at that moment. 

In general Shaheen has had a great record in the death overs in T20Is in 2022. 

Overs: 8.1 Runs: 47  Wickets: 6 Average: 7.8

The records suggest that if he bowled those 11 balls his figured could have been. 

Balls: 11 Runs: 10 Wickets: 1

He would have picked up a wicket. Now let us consider both the situations one by one-

  • The wicket he picked was off Ben Stokes
  • The wicket was of Harry Brook

If Ben Stokes was dismissed

Harry Brook's records in the death overs on T20Is in 2022:

Runs: 147 Balls: 76 SR: 193.4

Given Shaheen would have conceded 10 runs, the equation in the remaining 18 balls would have been 31 runs for England. Brook's death over numbers suggest that even if he would have faced 10 of those 18 balls he would have scored 19 runs.

The equation then is 12 of 8 balls. The other batter with Brook at this stage would have been Moeen Ali, who scored at a strike rate of 153.88 in the match. Given his strike rate, if Moeen Ali would have faced those 8 balls he would have scored 13 runs and there would not have been much difference in the result. 

If Harry Brook was dismissed

Ben Stokes record with the bat in the death over in T20Is of 2022:

Runs: 51 Balls: 36 SR: 141.7

These records suggest that Ben Stokes facing 10 of the remaining 18 deliveries would have scored 14 runs. So, the equation for England would have been 17 off 8 balls and Moeen Ali scoring 13 of these 8 balls would have meant England falling short by 4 runs. 

Note: Shaheen Afridi has a better record against right handers, and chances are high that the wicket he would have picked up Harry Brook's wicket. That might have ended in Pakistan winning the match and their second World T20 title. 

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2022: Team of the Tournament