Afghanistan vs Pakistan Super Four – Highlights & Summary
Afghanistan came into this match with a lot of confidence and a great momentum after winning two of two matches in the group stage, defeating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Pakistan on the other hand had suffered a loss at the hands of India in their previous group stage match and needed a win to start the Super Four stage with.
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first.
Afghanistan lost quick wickets at the top as both their openers lost their wickets to Mohammad Nawaz in the 9th and 11th over. Ishanullah was caught and bowled by Mohammad Nawaz and was the first wicket to fall. Mohammad Shahzad was caught behind on delivery by Mohammad Nawaz and Afghanistan were in trouble at 31-2 in the 11th over.
Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi built a partnership of 63 runs for the 3rd wicket.
Mohammad Nawaz was back into the attack in the 26th over and broke the partnership dismissing Rahmat Shah (36) caught and bowled.
Asghar Afghan, the captain of Afghanistan team played a fantastic innings putting down the foot and pacing the Afghanistan innings with 5 sixes and 2 fours.
He also ran many quick ones and twos with Shahidi on the other end and reached his half century. The two batsmen put together 94 runs for the 4th wicket.
This was a very crucial partnership that brought Afghanistan back into the game. Asghar Afghan (67) was out bowled on last ball of the 42nd over by the debutant Pakistan bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran were dismissed for 7 and 5 runs respectively.
Hashmatullah Shahidi batted really well from the other end, taking his time to build his innings and then hitting the boundaries in the death over. He stayed not out scoring 97 runs off 118 balls with 7 fours.
Afghanistan finished 257-6 in 50 overs.
Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman in the first over for the score of 0 and were on the back foot with 0-1 after 1 over. This was a dream start for Afghanistan against a formidable batting line up that Pakistan has.
After being cornered in the 1st over, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam of Pakistan made a solid comeback scoring 80 and 66 respectively and building a partnership of 154 runs for the 2nd wicket.
The partnership broke with Imam-ul-Haq getting run out by Najibullah Zadran in the 34th over. Soon in the next over, Rashid Khan got Babar Azam stumped out and Afghanistan now had sent both Pakistan openers back to the pavilion.
Afghanistan fought their way back into game after the solid 2nd wicket partnership by picking regular wickets and trying to put the pressure on the batting side with every passing over.
The thrilling finish
Pakistan lost their 5th wicket in the 45th over when Sarfaraz missed a full toss from Gulbadin Naib and was bowled for 8 runs off 12 balls.
Pakistan needed 42 runs from 30 balls after this over and it looked a tight game.
Next over was bowled by Mujeeb Ur Rahman with Shoaib Malik facing the 1st delivery who was on 32 off 33 balls and Asif Ali on the non-striker end who had just walked in.
Mujeeb ended the over giving away just 3 runs off it and now the required run rate had gone to 9.75 with 39 runs required off 24 balls.
Rashid Khan got the 47th over and was hit for a 96-metres six by Asif Ali on a googly that was pushed flat. The very next ball, Asif Ali swung his bat again attempting to hit another six, but was caught at long-off and the game was on.
The over ended with Shoaib Malik scoring 2 runs off the last ball. Pakistan now required 29 runs off 18 balls, the required run rate still above 9.5.
Aftab Alam came in to bowl the 48th over and kept it tight giving 4 runs off 4 balls, which Afghanistan wouldn’t mind. On the 5th ball of the over, Mohammad Nawaz swung his bat to clear the long-on boundary for a six and the match swung like a see-saw.
The over ended with a single and Pakistan now required 18 runs off 12 balls at 9 runs per over.
Things took another turn when Rashid Khan in the 49th over picked another wicket on the 3rd ball dismissing Mohammad Nawaz bowled, hitting the middle and leg stump. Pakistan were 242-7.
Just when it looked like the match couldn’t be more thrilling than this, Hasan Ali walked in and smashed Rashid Khan for a six over wide long-on on the 1st ball he faced.
That changed everything for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hasan Ali was beaten on the next two balls by Rashid Khan and the over ended with Pakistan 248-7 on the board and just 10 runs needed off the last over.
Aftab Alam bowled the last over and started with a dot ball to Shoaib Malik who was now on 41 off 40 balls, the only batsman other than Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam, to have stayed on the crease for long.
With the equation being 10 needed from 5 balls, Shoaib Malik smashed a short of a length delivery from Aftab Alam to a six over deep square leg.
He finished the things in style hitting a four on the next ball and getting Pakistan across the winning line in 49.3 overs.
Malik scored his half century with that boundary to score the winning runs.
Pakistan won by 3 wickets and 3 balls remaining in a thrilling encounter with Afghanistan. Shoaib Malik was awarded the Man of the Match.
Shoaib Malik had the experience with him needed for such a chase and that clearly outplayed the inexperienced Afghanistan bowling attack.
Nevertheless, it was a great effort by Afghanistan and they surely entertained their fans who had come out in huge numbers to support their national team at Abu Dhabi.
Afghanistan plays Bangladesh in their next Super Four fixture. Stay updated with our Asia Cup 2018 predictions, highlights and Match analysis.