AFG vs PAK: Naseem Shah's twin sixes knock Afghanistan out of the tournament
The tenth match of the Asia Cup 2022 saw Pakistan edge past Afghanistan by 1 wicket in Sharjah. The Men in Green secured their berth in the final, simultaneously knocking India and Afghanistan out of the mega event.
Afghanistan post a sub-par total in spite of a rollicking start
After being put into bat, Afghanistan got off to a flying start, with Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz adding 36 runs in just 3.5 overs. However, after Haris Rauf knocked over Gurbaz, the Afghans failed miserably in keeping up the ante, eventually losing the plot.
Haris Rauf did a great job [PC: Twitter]
Ibrahim Zadran consumed 37 balls for his sloth-paced 35, while Karim Janat and Najibullah Zadran could contribute only 15 and 10 runs, respectively. Skipper Mohammad Nabi had yet another forgettable day, recording a golden duck in this all-important clash.
However, Rashid Khan's 18-run cameo was pivotal in taking Afghanistan past 120.
Barring Mohammad Hasnain, all Pakistani bowlers were astute in terms of line and length. Haris Rauf emerged as their pick of the bowlers, scalping two wickets for 26 runs.
Naseem Shah's heroics seize the day for Pakistan
In contrast to their opponents, Pakistan started their innings on a poor note, as skipper Babar Azam was trapped plumb in front by Fazalhaq Farooqi in the second ball. Their problems got aggravated when Najibullah nailed the bull's eye to run Fakhar Zaman out in the fourth over.
Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed tried to consolidate the innings by adding 28 runs for the third wicket.
Shadab Khan played a match-winning knock [PC: Twitter]
But spin maestro Rashid Khan jolted their attempts by removing Rizwan in his second over. Iftikhar crawled his way through to 30 runs, before being dismissed by Fareed Ahmad Malik.
Although Shadab Khan tried his level best by smashing an impactful 26-ball 36, Rashid found him off guard to swing the game into Afghanistan's favour.
After Farooqi got rid of Nawaz and Khushdil, Fareed Malik castled Haris Rauf and found Asif Ali caught in the penultimate over, wreaking havoc in the Pakistani camp.
However, Naseem Shah had other ideas. The young seamer held his nerves and smashed Farooqi for two consecutive sixes in the final over, scripting a memorable victory for Pakistan.
Afghanistan: 129/6 (20)
Ibrahim Zadran 35 (37), Hazratullah Zazai 21 (17);
Haris Rauf 2/26 (4), Naseem Shah 1/19 (4)
Pakistan: 131/9 (19.2)
Shadab Khan 36 (26), Iftikhar Ahmed 30 (33);
Fareed Ahmed Malik 3/31 (4), Fazalhaq Farooqi 3/31 (3.2)
Pakistan won by 1 wicket.
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