Teenage Naseem Shah’s clutch sixes on back-to-back balls of the final over helped Pakistan defeat Afghanistan by one wicket in their Super Four match of the Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Heading into the final over, Pakistan needed 11 runs with just a wicket in hand, thanks to an aston-ishing batting collapse. However, the 19-year-old Naseem, whose primary job is that of a pacer and who came in to bat at number 10 when all seemed lose, turned the match on its head.
As Fazalhaq Farooqi went searching for yorkers but only found full tosses, Naseem took full advan-tage and dispatched both over the boundary line for maximums, triggering a sequence of wild celebra-tions worthy of wining the entire tournament.
Earlier, Afghanistan have set a 130-run target for Pakistan in their 20 overs after being asked to bat first by Babar Azam.
Pakistan had won the toss and decided to bowl first, eyeing to keep their winning streak intact against Afghanistan as the two teams face each other in the Asia Cup Super 4s match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Afghanistan were off to a flying start and looked set to set a big score once their openers started to hit the ball over the park.
However, Haris Rauf dismissed the explosive Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the fourth over and Mohammad Hasnain removed Hazratullah Zazai to bring two new batsmen to the crease.
Once the openers were dismissed, Babar brought in Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan who put pressure on Afghanistan with their tight bowling.
The pressure eventually got to Karim Janat and Ibrahim Zadran who were struggling to middle the ball. In the 12th over, Nawaz dismissed Janat to put Afghanistan three down.
From then on, regular dismissals by the bowlers and tight bowling by the Men in Green put Afghani-stan in check.—Agencies