Home Cricket Naseem Shah guides Pakistan through to Asia Cup final

Naseem Shah guides Pakistan through to Asia Cup final

Naseem Shah guides Pakistan through to Asia Cup final

Naseem Shah knocked India out of contention for the Asia Cup final with two back-to-back sixes in the first two balls off the final over against Afghanistan, as Pakistan secured a thrilling one-wicket win in their Super Four clash.

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Defending a small total of 130, Afghanistan bowled brilliantly as Fazalhaq Farooqi (3/31) and Fareed Ahmad Malik (3/31) rocked the Pakistani top and middler order. The two pacers nearly saw their side through but Naseem’s two sixes in the last over sealed a memorable win for Pakistan.

Iftikhar Ahmed (30) and Shadab Khan (36) made valuable contributions for Pakistan as they now prepare for their last Super Four match against Sri Lanka, whom they will also be meeting in the final.

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After reducing the Afghans to 129/6, Pakistan were off to a nightmarish start ,losing skipper Babar Azam for a golden duck while another wicket soon fell after Fakhar Zaman was run out by Najibullah Zadran for 5, reducing Pakistan to 18/2.

Mohammed Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed began rebuilding Pakistan’s innings. However, wickets slowly fell. Save for a 42-run third-wicket stand between Iftikhar and Shadab Ahmed, there really wasn’t much contribution from Pakistan’s batters. Heading into the final four overs, Pakistan needed 39 runs.

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By then, half of the Pakistan batting lineup was dismissed for 97 runs. Asif Ali and Nawaz teamed up as Pakistan needed 25 off the final three overs. Afghanistan continued to fight back, with Fazalhaq Farooqi trapping Nawaz leg before wicket for four off five balls. Pakistan were then 105/6. Farooqi then cleaned up Khusdil Shah in the final ball of the over. Pakistan needed 21 in the final two overs.

Haris Rauf was clean bowled by Fareed Ahmad for a duck, before Naseem Shah joined Asif. Fareed Ahmad picked up his third wicket, dismissing Ali for 16 off 8 balls, caught by Karim Janat. Mohammad Hasnain walked in as the last man, with Pakistan requiring 11 in the final over.

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However, Naseem Shah hit the first ball for a huge six, before also smashing the next over the boundary to register a fashionable win for Pakistan.

Earlier, brilliant bowling by the Pakistan unit restricted Afghanistan to a subpar 129/6 in their 20 overs in Sharjah. Afghanistan’s batters struggled except for Ibrahim Zadran (35) while Haris Rauf was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers with figures of 2/26.

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