Pakistan defeated Afghanistan in a thrilling contest to qualify for the finals of the ongoing Asia Cup 2022. The victory also eliminated both Afghanistan and India from the multi-team tournament. The Men in Green will now face Sri Lanka in the final fixture.
Chasing a paltry target of 130, Pakistan were in a spot of bother, losing two wickets for just 18 in 3.1 overs. Before the Afghans could add more pressure, Mohammad Rizwan (20) and Iftikhar Ahmed (30) partnered to stabilize the innings.
The duo added 27 runs for the third wicket before Rashid Khan dismissed the dangerous Rizwan. Ifthikhar and Shadab Khan formed another vital partnership for Pakistan of 42 runs for the fourth wicket, which took the team’s total to 87 before Fareed Ahmed removed Iftikhar.
The twist in the tail was waiting to greet Pakistan as Afghanistan picked up four more wickets in quick succession to reduce Pakistan to 118/9 with just 7 balls left in the contest. However, Naseem Shah, the 19-year-old sensation, held his nerves and smashed two back-to-back sixes to get Pakistan home.
Earlier, Pakistan bowled brilliantly to restrict Afghanistan for just 129/6 in their allotted 20 overs. Pacer Haris Rauf picked up two wickets for 26 runs in his quota of 4 overs. All other bowlers, Naseem (1/19), Mohammad Hasnain (1/34), Mohammad Nawaz (1/23), and Shadab (1/27), all bagged one scalp each.
For Afghanistan, Ibrahim Zadran, with 35 from 37 deliveries featuring two fours and a six, was their top scorer. Rashid played a cameo of unbeaten 18 from 15 balls to push his team’s total near 130.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
UNBELIEVABLE FINISH! 🤩
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 7, 2022
This Asia Cup just cannot stop delivering unreal matches
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) September 7, 2022
— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) September 7, 2022
Defending champions India out of the Asia Cup 2022.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) September 7, 2022
Pakistan kill 2 birds with one stone:
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) September 7, 2022
— Estelle Vasudevan (@Estelle_Vasude1) September 7, 2022
What a game. What a fight. Afghan Atalan 👏👏👏
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) September 7, 2022
Asia Cup finalists in
2010 – IND🇮🇳 v SL🇱🇰
2012 – PAK🇵🇰 v BAN🇧🇩
2014 – SL🇱🇰 v PAK🇵🇰
2016 – IND🇮🇳 v BAN🇧🇩
2018 – IND🇮🇳 v BAN🇧🇩
2022 – PAK🇵🇰 v SL🇱🇰
Finalists different from the previous season in every alternate Asia Cups.
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) September 7, 2022
— 🏏Flashscore Cricket Commentators (@FlashCric) September 7, 2022
Feel for Afghanistan. They had come as close as you can get. Had they won today they could have scripted a fairytale. They played their hearts out. #AsiaCup2022
— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) September 7, 2022
Now huge pressure on T20 World Cup to match Asia Cup level.
— Silly Point (@FarziCricketer) September 7, 2022
This Asia cup has been amazing . Very under rated tournament. Lot of Passion and great fan following. They should keep playing more of these tri and quadrangular tournaments. Always fun. #PAKvAFG
— Gaurav Sundararaman (@gaurav_sundar) September 7, 2022