Pak vs Afg: Naseem Shah comes up clutch, hits back-to-back 6s in final over to win seesaw thriller

SHARJAH: Naseem Shah’s two sixes in the last over helped Pakistan secure a birth in the final game of the Asia Cup 2022 and send India packing in a low-scoring thriller.

Afghanistan had set a 130-run target for Pakistan in their 20 overs after being asked to bat first by Babar Azam.

The match appeared to be in the bag after Afghanistan were dismissed for 130, however, Mohammad Nabi and Co. gave the Green Shirts a run for their money with their exceptional bowling.

Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam in the first six overs and when they lost in-form Mohammad Rizwan at the end of the ninth over with just 48 runs on the board, it seemed that the Men in Green were in trouble.

Afghanistan’s bowlers continued piling up the pressure but Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan’s 42-run partnership helped ensure that by the end of the 16th over, the target was within reach.

The tide turned in Afghanistan’s favour after the partnership was broken and Pakistan lost quick wickets cheaply.

In the last two overs, Pakistan needed 21 off 12 balls and had just three wickets in hand. In the second last over, Fareed Ahmad took two wickets, including the crucial wicket of Asif Ali.

By the end of his over, Pakistan needed 11 off 6 balls and just had their numbers 10 and 11 — Naseem and Mohammad Hasnain — on the crease.

However, Naseem’s two sixes from the first two balls of the penultimate helped Pakistan snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The one-wicket win meant that Pakistan will now take on Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup.

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