The second match of the Super Four stage between Afghanistan and Pakistan was one of the closest games of the Asia Cup 2018. The match went down to the wire as Pakistan won by three wickets. Shoaib Malik oozed the steel of nerves as he took his team over the line. Afghanistan’s skipper Asghar Afghan won the toss and decided to bat first in Abu Dhabi. The Afghan team was able to put 257 on the board. Hashmatullah Shahidi and Asghar Afghan scored the fifties to take Afghanistan’s tally to a competitive score.
The pair also added 94 runs for the fourth wicket stand. Meanwhile, Shahidi scored a fine 97 whereas the Afghanistan captain scored 67 off just 56 balls. On the other hand, Pakistan was sloppy in the field as their fielders dropped as many as four catches.
Thus, Men in Green had to pay the price for poor work in the field. Meanwhile, Mohammad Nawaz who replaced Shadab Khan scalped three wickets. Shaheen Afridi who was making his debut was unfortunate as the fielders didn’t support him with their butterfingers. However, the young fast bowler who has shown the promise to do well took two wickets and conceded only 37 runs.
Meanwhile, Pakistan didn’t have the best of starts as Fakhar Zaman was trapped in front in the first over by Mujeeb Ur Rahman. However, Imam-ul-Haq were able to steady the ship as they put together an alliance of 154 runs. Imam scored a fine 80 whereas Babar Azam was able to chip with 66 runs.
However, Pakistan lost both their settled batsmen in a quick succession to cause jitters. Furthermore, these batsmen scored their runs at a moderate pace which meant the falls of wickets will open the floodgates of the pressure of runs.
Nevertheless, the experienced Shoaib Malik was able to come to Pakistan’s rescue. In fact, Malik was lucky as he was dropped by Mohammad Shahzad when he was on just 11 runs. Therefore, Afghanistan was also poor with the catching like their counterparts. However, the pressure kept rising on Pakistan as they lost their skipper cheaply on eight runs and Asif Ali also perished in an attempt to take on Rashid Khan.
29 runs were required off the last three overs and the onus was on Shoaib Malik and the veteran batsman didn’t disappoint. The right-hander scored an unbeaten 51 runs knock to take Pakistan over the line.
On the other hand, Afghanistan spinners were once again able to impress. Mujeeb Ur Rahman scalped two wickets and conceded only 33 in his ten overs whereas Rashid Khan also took three wickets. Khan bowled the penultimate over and was slogged by Hasan Ali for a massive six.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will now lock horns with India whereas Afghanistan will square off with Bangladesh in their respective next encounters.