Pakistan squeaked home by one wicket against Afghanistan in the ‘Super Four’ match to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup 2022.
On Tuesday, Pakistan squeaked home by one wicket against Afghanistan in the ‘Super Four’ match to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup 2022. The final will take place on Sunday between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. India have now crashed out of the tournament after losing consecutive matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Chasing 130, Pakistan were 119-9 in 19 overs and needed 12 runs in the final over. The left-arm bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi served up two full tosses, which were smoked for sixes by Naseem Shah straight down the ground to seal the match for his team.
Earlier, Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz gave Afghanistan a start after they were asked to bat first. In the second over, Gurbaz blasted two sixes off the pacer Mohammad Hasnain. Zazao also reeled off a couple of boundaries as Afghanistan raced to 36 in the 4th over. The stand was snapped by Haris Rauf as Gurbaz attempted a hoick but was castled neck and crop. Zazai was also bowled by Hasnain in the next over for 21.
Ibrahim Zadran and Karim Janat added 35 runs for the third wicket by Afghanistan’s run rate dipped significantly as spinners Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan bowled piercingly and stifled batsmen for runs.
The collapse began after Janat was nipped out by Nawaz as he was caught at long-on in a bid to smite a six. Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi also fell soon after as Afghanistan’s innings slumped into a morass. A short cameo by Rashid Khan helped them reach 129-6 in 20 overs.
In response, Pakistan lost their captain, Babar Azam, in the first as he was deceived by the in-dipper from Farooqi and was caught in front of stumps. Fakhar Zaman fell to a direct hit by Najibullah in the 4th over as Afghanistan clawed their way back into the match. Pakistan slipped further when Rashid prised out Mohammad Rizwan in the 9th over with a googly and left them reeling at 45-3.
Shadab was promoted up the order to crank up the run rate and he did not disappoint. He clouted three massive sixes in a 26-ball 36 and cobbled together a partnership of 42 runs with Iftikhar Ahmed. The left-arm seamer Fareed Ahmad Malik dismissed Iftikhar, Asif Ali and Haris Rauf quickly and rattled Pakistan’s innings. Farooqi also accounted for Nawaz and Khushdil and triggered panic in Pakistan’s dressing room.
But Naseem showed calmness under mounting pressure and walloped two sixes in the final to secure a place for Pakistan in the final.