Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Babar Azam, Asif Ali power Pakistan to third win. This was Pakistan's 14th consecutive win in the UAE
This was Pakistan's 14th consecutive win in the UAE
In a nutshell
Pakistan brought about their third win in the Super 12 with a five-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Dubai, but not without drama. In one of the more competitive games in the ongoing T20 WC, Pakistan were pushed close, needing 24 off the last 2 overs until Asif Ali's four sixes against Karim Janat in the 19th over wrapped up the game with an over to spare. This was Pakistan's 14th consecutive win in the UAE and Afghanistan's first defeat on these shores in 18 matches.
So a similar script for Pakistan?
Bowl first, strike early, restrict the opposition, build the chase through Babar Azam and leave it for Asif Ali to finish — sounds familiar? This was pretty much how Pakistan registered another win in the tournament but it could have been different, had Mohammad Nabi opted to bowl first. But instead chose to put on a total and it looked like a bad call when his side lost four wickets in the powerplay.
Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad, Asghar Afghan and Rahmanullah Gurbaz all fell inside the first six, and to different Pakistan bowlers, showing just how well-rounded Babar Azam's attack really is. Imad Wasim first got Zazai top-edging to third man and then Shaheen Afridi got Shahzad caught at mid-on. Haris Rauf then had Asghar Afghan caught and bowled while Hasan Ali, bowling the last over of the powerplay, had Gurbaz miscuing a pull shot.
So how did Afghanistan make 147?
Nabi and Gulbadin Naib added 71 off the last 45 balls, hitting 9 fours and a six to take Afghanistan to 147/6. Hasan Ali conceded 21 runs in his final over, a deja vu moment for Pakistan that will give them something to ponder over even after this win. Both finished with an individual score of 35* and put together a score that could challenge Pakistan with two of their spinners in Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. But Pakistan were too good on the day once again.
Babar Azam at it again
Even though he lost his opening partner early, with Mohammad Rizwan falling to Mujeeb inside the powerplay, Babar went along with Fakhar Zaman this time around, adding a steady 63 runs for the second wicket and scoring his 22nd T20I fifty, his third in the last four innings.
How did it get close in the end?
Babar fell to a poor shot off Rashid, bowled by a googly and Shoaib Malik then edged Naveen-ul-Haq behind six balls later, leaving Pakistan a bit taken aback before the 19th over. But Asif Ali wasn't letting it go into the final over. He dispatched his second ball for a six and hit three more in the over, very similar to what he did against New Zealand, and took Pakistan home with six deliveries to spare.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 147/6 in 20 overs (Mohammad NAbi 35*, Gulbadin Naib 35*; Imad Wasim 2-25) lost to Pakistan 148/5 in 19 overs (Babar Azam 51, Asif Ali 25*; Rashid Khan 2-26) by 5 wickets