DUBAI: Asif Ali heroics saw Pakistan win their third group match against Afghanistan here on Friday. Afghanistan had decided to bat first after winning the toss.
The left-handed dangerous opening batter Hazratullah Zazai struggled against Imad Wasim before departing to Imad Wasim. Mohammad Shahzad was cleaned up by Shaheen Shah Afridi with Afghanistan reduced to 13-2. However, that did not stop Afghanistan from counter attacking the Pakistani bowlers.
The Afghan batters kept going hard at the ball despite losing wickets. By the end of the 12th over, Afghanistan were reduced to 76-6 before Gulbadin Naib joined Mohammad Nabi (C) at the crease. The two put on a great show and smashed Hassan Ali and Haris Rauf towards the end to get Afghanistan to a respectable total of 147.
With a target of 148 in sight, the two Pakistan opening batters came out to bat. Afghanistan’s star spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman started the proceedings for Afghanistan. He did not take long to dismiss Mohammad Rizwan who got out sweeping the ball to deep square leg.
Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman then put on a 63-run stand before Fakhar got LBW to Nabi in the 12th over. With 73 runs still away from the victory, Babar kept losing partners at the other end before he was joined by Shoaib Malik at the other end.
Babar scored yet another half century, but got out on the last ball of the dangerous leg-spinner Rashid Khan’s 4-over spell. Shoaib Malik also got dismissed in the 17th over with things looking murky for Pakistan. With 24 needed off 12, Asif Ali came to the party and hit four 6s off Karim Janat’s last over to win the game for Pakistan.
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