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PIX: Asif Ali's cameo gives Pakistan 3rd straight win

Last updated on: October 30, 2021 00:02 IST
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Images from the T20 World Cup Super 12s match between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Dubai, on Friday.

Shadab Khan and Asif Ali celebrate after taking Pakistan past Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup Super 12s match, at Dubai International Stadium, on Friday.

IMAGE: Shadab Khan and Asif Ali celebrate after taking Pakistan past Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup Super 12s match, at Dubai International Stadium, on Friday. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Skipper Babar Azam scored a composed 51 and Asif Ali hit four sixes in the penultimate over as Pakistan beat Afghanistan by five wickets to post their third straight victory in the T20 World Cup, in Dubai, on Friday.

 

Afghanistan gave Pakistan some anxious moments while defending 147, which was possible due to skipper Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib's unbeaten knocks after they were gasping at 76 for 6, but Asif Ali dashed whatever hopes they may have entertained with a penultimate over blitz.

Rashid Khan celebrates with his Afghanistan teammates after dismissing Mohammad Hafeez.

IMAGE: Rashid Khan celebrates with his Afghanistan teammates after dismissing Mohammad Hafeez. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

With the team needing 24 runs from the last two overs, Asif Ali (25 off 7 balls) completed the job in 19th over, hitting four sixes off Karim Jannat.

Pakistan lost Mohammad Rizwan (8) to Mujeeb Ur Rahman early in their chase, but Azam and Fakhar Zaman (30) kept the innings under control with a 63-run stand.

Mujeeb was exceptional upfront for Afghanistan as he conceded only 14 runs in his four-over spell but Pakistan’s batters scored runs off other bowlers.

Pakistan opener Babar Azam dispatches the ball to the boundary.

IMAGE: Pakistan opener Babar Azam dispatches the ball to the boundary. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

The world's top leg-spinner Rashid Khan carried Afghanistan's hopes but by the time he came in to bowl Pakistan had put 72 runs on board in 10 overs.

His magic was on work though as he got rid of Mohammad Hafeez (10) to complete a century of wickets in T20 Internationals.

He gave away only 26 runs in his four overs with most of the Pakistan batters playing him with caution.

Naveen-ul-Haq breaks into a celebratory run after dismissing Shoaib Malik.

IMAGE: Naveen-ul-Haq breaks into a celebratory run after dismissing Shoaib Malik. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Shoaib Malik (19) though launched Rashid for a massive six in his last over in which Azam was dropped by Naveen ul Haq. However, the Pakistan skipper was bowled off a googly off the last ball.

Azam's 47-ball knock had only four shots to the fence as he mostly moved the ball around.

Malik ended up caught behind when he flashed hard on a widish ball from Naveen, giving an easy catch to Mohammad Shahzad.

Asif then came to the crease and he did not disappoint his side.

Captain Mohammad Nabi hit 5 fours in an unbeaten 32-ball 35 to rally Afghanistan to a fighting total.

IMAGE: Captain Mohammad Nabi hit 5 fours in an unbeaten 32-ball 35 to rally Afghanistan to a fighting total. Photograph: ANI Photo

Earlier, skipper Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib's unbeaten knocks rallied Afghanistan from a precarious position to a competitive 147 for 6.

Afghanistan were gasping at 76 for 6 in the 13th over as Pakistan's expansive attack dominated the proceedings, but Nabi (35) and Naib (35) went on the offensive in the death overs with a big-hearted effort under pressure and prevented it from becoming a one-sided contest.

They added 71 runs in 7.1 overs, 43 coming in the last three overs.

Haris Rauf takes the catch off his own bowling to dismiss Asghar Afghan.

IMAGE: Haris Rauf takes the catch off his own bowling to dismiss Asghar Afghan. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

It all started when they creamed 21 runs from the 17th over, bowled by Hasan Ali. Together they hit 10 boundaries.

However, initially Shaheen Afridi's probing yorkers, Haris Rauf's variation and the control of Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan tested the Afghan batters after they opted to bat.

Pacer Afiridi created pressure on the Afghan batters straightaway with his toe-targeting fiery first over and left-arm spinner Wasim followed that up with another tight over upfront.

Hasan Ali celebrates the wicket of Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

IMAGE: Hasan Ali celebrates the wicket of Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

The dot-ball pressure got the better of Hazratullah Zazai (0), who went after Wasim and ended up giving a catch to Rauf.

Mohammad Shahzad (8) lifted Afridi's overpitched ball in the cover region to get the team’s first boundary but could not clear mid-on a delivery later and was back in the pavilion.

Realising that it will be difficult to score off Afridi, former skipper Asghar Afghan (10) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (10) targeted Wasim and collected 17 runs from his next over, both hitting him for a six each.

Gulbadin Naib hit 4 fours and a six in his unbeaten 25-ball 35.

IMAGE: Gulbadin Naib hit 4 fours and a six in his unbeaten 25-ball 35. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

However, Afghan's stay was cut short by Rauf while Gurbaz was sent back by Hasan Ali.

Afghan's younger brother Karim Jannat (15) came to the crease and with Najibullah Zadran (22) had the responsibility to keep afloat his side, which was tottering at 39 for 4 inside the Powerplay overs.

It kept getting worse for Afghanistan as the runs failed to come at a good pace and they kept losing wickets.

Jannat and Zadran were scalped by Wasim and Shadab respectively, leaving Nabi with a difficult task to put enough runs on the board to defend, which he did with Naib.

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