T20 World Cup: Asif stars as Pakistan beat Afghanistan by five wickets

Asif Ali of Pakistan hits a six. (Photo by M. Sajjad)
Asif Ali of Pakistan hits a six. (Photo by M. Sajjad)

Dubai - Pakistan record their third straight win in the tournament



by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 29 Oct 2021, 9:35 PM

Last updated: Fri 29 Oct 2021, 9:52 PM

Six-hitting machine Asif Ali (25 not out off 7 balls, 4 sixes) was Pakistan’s hero against a spirited Afghanistan as Babar Azam’s men survived some late drama to record their third straight win in the T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Chasing 148, Pakistan were in trouble after Rashid Khan (2/26) and medium-pacer Naveen-ul-Haq (1/22) raised hopes of an Afghan upset with the champion leg-spinner castling Babar (51 off 47 balls) and the medium-pacer dismissing the experienced Shoaib Malik (19 off 15 balls) with Pakistan needing 24 off 13 balls.

But Ali, coming into Friday’s game on the back of brilliant cameo against New Zealand, hit four sixes against Karim Janat to help Pakistan script a thrilling five-wicket win with one over to spare.

Asif Ali celebrates the victory with Shadab Khan. (Photo by M Sajjad).
Asif Ali celebrates the victory with Shadab Khan. (Photo by M Sajjad).

Earlier, Afghanistan overcame a top-order collapse to post a fighting total in their Super 12 clash.

Despite being reduced to 76 for six in 13 overs, Afghans fought back to put on 147 for six on the board, thanks to an enthralling 71-run unbroken partnership between captain Mohammad Nabi (35 not out off 32 balls) and Gulbadin Naib (35 not out off 25 balls) for seventh wicket, which lifted the spirits of the Afghan fans.

Poor shot selection from the Afghan top-order after Nabi won the toss and elected to bat threatened to derail the Afghan innings.

But Nabi and Gulbadin showed the composure their specialist batsmen lacked, giving the bowlers something to bowl at.

Shaheen Shah Afrid (4-0-22-1) was superb once again and bowled a brilliant last over, giving away only seven runs after Nabi and Gulbadin had scored 34 off the previous two overs from Hasan Ali (4-1-38-1) and Haris Rauf (4-0-37-1).


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