DUBAI: Dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Sunday showed confidence Pakistan can pull off a one-day series win despite the return of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn in the South African squad for the last three matches.
Afridi starred with 3-26 to add to his 20-ball 26 in Pakistan’s comprehensive 66-run win in the second One-day International here on Friday which levelled the five-match series at 1-1.
Pakistan spurned a golden opportunity to win the first match in Sharjah last Wednesday, going down by one run from a winning position.
But Afridi, 33, said the way their bowlers were performing Pakistan can win the series.
“There is no doubt Amla and Steyn will strengthen South Africa but the way our bowlers are doing, I am sure we can beat South Africa,” Afridi told reporters.
Amla returned to Dubai on Sunday after missing the second Test and the first two one-day games due to the birth of his child back home.
Steyn is likely to join the squad in time for the third match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday after returning home for a rest before the one-day series.
Besides Afridi, off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took 2-15 and paceman Mohammad Irfan claimed 3-53 in the second match.
Afridi brushed aside criticism of failing to guide Pakistan to a win when only 19 runs were needed when he walked into bat in the first match.
“I got a bad ball which I hit and got out, it could have been a six,” said Afridi who made only nine in that match.
“It’s not Afridi versus South Africa, its Pakistan versus South Africa,” said Afridi, who so far has 365 wickets in 364 matches.
He also has 7,395 runs, including a world record 37-ball hundred made against Sri Lanka in 1996.
Afridi said he was enjoying being part of Pakistan’s squad.
“I am enjoying the game,” said Afridi.“This current team is a mix of seniors and juniors and I am feeling younger with each passing day.”
Afridi said he hoped Pakistan’s batting will click in the remaining matches.
“The batting needs to be improved, its a matter of applying ourselves,” said Afridi.
The fourth match will also be played in Abu Dhabi on Friday while the fifth and final match will be held in Sharjah on Nov 11.—AFP