Asia Cup 2018: Pakistan hold nerve to win thriller vs gutsy Afghanistan

first_imgPakistan survived a mighty scare from Afghanistan, but emerged victorious by 3 wickets in their Super Four clash at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.Shoaib Malik hit an unbeaten fifty, his 42nd of his ODI career, to see Pakistan through in a tense chase of 258.Malik with calm and composed batting eventually trumped the inexperience in the Afghanistan team, as he took Pakistan home with three balls to spare.Pakistan required 10 runs from the last over and Malik dispatched pacer Aftab Alam for a six and four after playing a dot ball.Pakistan vs Afghanistan – HighlightsWickets kept falling for Pakistan with star Afghan spinner Rashid Khan yet again proving his utility with a three wicket haul but Malik held his nerves to keep one end tight.Our Man of the Match, @realshoaibmalik with his trophyMore #AsiaCup2018 #HarSaansMeinBolo Official (@TheRealPCB) September 21, 2018Pakistan though got off to the worst possible start when Fakhar Zaman was sent back in the first over of the innings by Mujeeb Ur Rahman.The pair of Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam then came together for a mammoth 154-run partnership to steer Pakistan’s boat to safety.Imam-ul-Haq was run out in the 34th over but had managed to score 80 from 104 balls (his second ODI fifty) as Babar Azam too followed him within two overs. Babar also reached his 8th ODI fifty (a 94-ball 66).In walked Malik and along with the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz and finally Hasan Ali saw Pakistan across the line.advertisementMan of the moment, @realshoaibmalik #PAKvAFG #AsiaCup2018 #HarSaansMeinBolo Official (@TheRealPCB) September 21, 2018Earlier, Hashmatullah Shahidi (97) missed out on his maiden ODI hundred by just three runs after skipper Asghar Afghan hit a combative 67 off 56 balls as Afghanistan scored a fighting 257 for.Shahidi needed a boundary off the last ball to complete his century but Hasan Ali denied him the milestone with a incoming yorker which the left-hander could not put away.With his skipper Asghar, Shahidi shared a match-changing 94-run stand for the fourth wicket.Shahidi shifted gears with ease after largely remaining patient in his unbeaten and career-best knock which came off 118 balls. He was bowled off a no ball when he was on 76 in the penultimate over.Five of his seven boundaries came during the last 14 balls of the Afghan innings.Asghar had joined left-handed Shahidi at the crease after left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (3/57) removed the top three Afghan batsmen — Mohammad Shahzad (20), Ihsanullah (10) and Rahmat Shah (36).In his 67-run knock, Asghar showed both aggression and patience and Shahidi was determined, holding one end tight.Asghar chose right deliveries to go for big shots, hitting five sixes and two fours.Shahidi and Asghar were tested by the Pakistan pace duo of Hasan Ali and Usman Khan but they refused to be intimidated by the raw pace.They were sensible in defending and leaving the balls which moved after pitching outside off stump. They kept the scoreboard ticking with pushing and nudging the ball around.Breakthrough not coming, Pakistan captain Sarfraz handed the ball back to Nawaz but Asghar creamed off 11 runs from his over, hitting a four and six, to end the long boundary drought.Both the batsmen completed their half-centuries in the 40th over, bowled by young left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi.With few overs left, Asghar started hitting each everything thrown at him and was bowled by Afridi after being dropped by Haris Sohail in the 42nd over.Pakistan will play their next Super Four game against India on Sunday.(With inputs from PTI)last_img

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