Pakistan vs Afghanistan Highlights: Pakistan beat Afghanistan by one wicket to qualify for Asia Cup final, India out of contention | Cricket News

Sharjah: Naseem Shah hit arguably the two most important sixes to protect Pakistan’s ego on a Wednesday night that broke the hearts of millions of Afghans and knocked India out of the Asian Cup. Naseem’s big shots may not match Javed Miandad’s last six balls against Chetan Sharma from 1986, it would hurt Indian fans so much.
India’s fate in the tournament hinged on a win in Afghanistan and the Afghan bowlers, spitting fire into the cauldron at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, nearly broke through the Pakistani batting line-up while defending 129/7 before that Naseem does not seal the agreement in the first two balls of the final reversed by Fazalhaq Farooqi. Naseem’s hits landed a thriller for Pakistan with just a lone wicket. The win booked a place in the final for Pakistan alongside Sri Lanka, rendering the next two Super 4 matches inconsequential.
It happened: Pakistan vs Afghanistan
When the Pakistani side returned to the locker room after limiting Afghanistan to a modest 129/7, they could have imagined knocking down the slopes with blissful ease. As the final six overs of the match began, tempers began to fly on the pitch and the stadium transformed into a deafening arena. Asif Ali charging Fareed Ahmad with his bat after being dismissed short-legged in the 19th was just one example of the tension of the night.


Afghan Fareed Ahmad, left, and Pakistani Asif Ali, right, react after Ali was sacked by Ahmad. (AP Photo)
The buzz here at Sharjah Cricket Stadium was way bigger than what would happen in India at the end of the night. It became a battle of egos as an Afghan-dominated crowd invaded the stadium.
Afghanistan, as they most often do, scared the top of the innings when Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz threw them at full speed, scoring 36 goals in 3.5 overs. The extra pace of Pakistan’s fast bowlers, on a pitch that looked like a sheet of glass, seemed to work in Afghanistan’s favor as they began to exploit the short boundaries.

The same pitch looked like powdered glass late in the game and the Afghan bowlers began to weave a hold on the Pakistani batters from the second ball of the innings when Farooqi trapped captain Babar Azam just past the stumps.
Farooqi (3/31) and fellow left arm pacer Fareed Ahmad (3/31) backed off Rashid Khan (2/25) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (0/12) spotless spells only for Naseem to ruin their party.
However, Pakistan’s attack is too well seasoned to be exploited by a batting formation that has yet to reach a top standard in international cricket. Soon the extra pace got too hot for inexperienced Afghan hitters. And then spinners Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan came in and choked them.
Pakistani rhythm trio Naseem Shah (1/19), Mohammad Hasnain (1/34) and Haris Rauf (2/26) decided to turn up the heat as a soothing breeze swept across the floor. They started delivering the balls heavy, hitting the hard length and relentlessly attacking the stumps. As a result, Zazai, Gurbaz and skipper Mohammad Nabi were all knocked down.
Ibrahim Zadran, someone identified by Afghanistan to anchor their sleeves has shown glimpses of his talent that cannot be ignored. Even as he tried to rebuild, the pressure was mounting on the other side. His partners Karim Janat and Najibullah Zadran, responsible for increasing the running pace, were choked out by the Shadab and the Nawaz. Both died trying to cross the right border.
Although Ibrahim stayed for his 35 out of 37, the big hit never came. It was up to Afghanistan’s greatest Rashid Khan to land some vigorous shots in Rauf’s final over that gave them a distant chance to turn things around with the ball.

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