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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Pak ends India’s Asia Cup hope beating Afghans by 1 wkt


Until the last over, India’s hopes were alive in 2022 Asia Cup, but two mighty blows by Naseem Shah (14 off 4) of first two deliveries sealed their chances as Pakistan cruised home with one wicket win against Afghanistan in the fourth Super 4 T20 match here on Wednesday.

Pakistan were indefinite in their approach, chasing a paltry 130 runs target set by Afghanistan. None of their batsmen got going, except Shadab Khan (36 off 26, 1×4 3x6s) and Asif Ali (16 off 8, 2x6s) at the end.

Pakistan lost six wickets of Iftikhar Ahmed (30 off 33), Shadab, Mohammad Nawaz (4 off 5), Khusdil Shah (1), Haris Rauf (0) and Asif Ali (16 off 8), for just 32 runs. At one stage, the finalists were 87/4 in 15.3 overs, but slumped to 118/9 in 18.5 overs.

Pakistan had a very bad start as they lost captain Babar Azam (0) off the very second ball of the run chase off Farooqi. Soon they lost Fakhar Zaman (5), leaving Pakistan struggling at 18/2 in 3.1 overs.

Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar took the score to 87, before he was adjudged LBW off Rashid Khan (2/25) after making 20 runs off 26 balls.

Farooqi and Rashid, were the wrecker-in-chiefs. But, Farooqi who had figures of 3/19 in three overs, crumbled under pressure in the final over.

Earlier, Pakistan etched out a colossal bowling display. They removed Rahmanullah Gurbaz (17) and Hazartullah Zazai (21), who were on song, posting 36 runs for the first wicket off 23 balls.

Gurbaz’s wicket off Haris Rauf changed things in favour of Pakistan. Soon Zazai was clean bowled by Mohammad Hasnain, and from there Afghanistan lost the plot.

Karim Janat (15) was promoted at 4 to up the ante, but the tactics failed as Pakistan spinners tied him and Ibrahim Zadran who made 35 off 37 balls. When they tried to break the shackles, the duo got out and Pakistan restricted Afghanistan’s intent to get quick runs in the death as well.

Haris was marvelous, picking up 2 wickets for 26 runs.

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