Afridi wants to end painful memories
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2009

DateLine: 20th June 2009


Saturday will be exactly 10 years since Pakistan and Shahid Afridi last appeared in a final at Lord's.


Then it went horribly wrong for Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup as Australia first bowled them out for only 132 and then did not even give them a semblance of a chance, racing to a nine-wicket win.


It was one of Pakistan's most embarrassing days as the packed crowd, most of them Pakistanis, were disappointed seeing the Kangaroos complete the job with almost 30 of their 50 overs unused.


A decade on though, Afridi has scripted a beautiful story for Pakistan cricket. They are again on the brink of a World Cup title. He has been instrumental in his side’s efforts to reach this far with a match-winning all-round performance in Thursday's ICC World Twenty20 semi-final victory over South Africa.


Afridi first scored a 33-ball half-century and then garnered figures of 2/16 with the ball at Trent Bridge.


One of the only two players in the current Pakistan squad from that last Lord's appearance - in the absence of an ill Shoaib Akhtar - Afridi is inspired by the presence of Younis Khan.


"Younis always really supports me, and that's what I need from the captain. The coach (Intikhab Alam) is helping me as well," Afridi admitted.


Afridi played a patient knock considering his hard-hitting prowess. He has been a little out of touch with the bat and is trying to come with good performances with the willow.


"In the last couple of games, I've tried to really build my innings," Afridi said.


"But Younis told me before, 'Just go and play your own game - don't worry about anything. There is no pressure on you'.


"He said, 'Just take your time. Every bowler is easy for you if you do that - take responsibility. You are my main player'.


"I'm trying to do all of that."


He may appear pretty much the same Afridi - well-known and mostly loved. The man himself, though, believes he is doing things slightly differently.


"In the last two-and-a-half or three years, I haven't performed that well with the bat," he admitted. "But the team needs me to do it."


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