Naseem Shah hits successive sixes to power Pakistan into the final:
Pakistan and Sri Lanka will compete in the 2022 Asia Cup final. Pakistan defeated Afghanistan in a low-scoring thriller to advance to the 2022 Asia Cup final and win their second straight Super 4 match.
Pakistan will play in the Asia Cup final for the first time in eight years. Pakistan chose to bowl first after winning the toss and did a decent job with the ball. Despite losing two wickets in the powerplay, Afghanistan’s run rate was satisfactory. They eventually lost the plot, though. Afghanistan still had the situation under control with 78/3 in the 12th over, but they were unable to continue.
For Pakistan to recover, Shadab Khan and Nawaz each contributed one wicket. Afghan batters simply made shaky starts before turning around and leaving. Only Rashid Khan had an impact, scoring 18(15)*, while Ibrahim Zadran top scored 35. Haris Rauf from Pakistan took two wickets from the top order of Afghanistan, while each of the other bowlers took a wicket each.
Babar Azam’s dismissal for a golden duck made Pakistan’s attack appear unconvincing early on. Fakhar Zaman entered shortly after, but he took a reckless run and ran out. Pakistan’s was 18/2 and they were in serious difficulty. Although Rizwan and Iftikhar had a shaky partnership, Rizwan’s lack of fitness prevented him from scoring frequently. Rashid Khan trapped him LBW and dismissed him for 20 (26). The partnership that changed the game was when Shadab Khan entered.
Iftikhar Ahmed rotated the strike well, and Shadab did smash some good blows, including two sixes against Mohammad Nabi in the 12th over. In order to lower the required rate, Shadab hit some fantastic shots, and this alliance ultimately cost Afghanistan the game. When Fareed dismissed Iftikhar Ahmed for 30, he ended this partnership. Shadab, however, continued to cause harm.
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The game’s 17th over was very important. Shadab Khan scored a six off Rashid on the first ball, but he was later removed for 36 (26), including three sixes. The following batter, Asif Ali, hit Rashid Khan for a first-ball six. Nawaz and Asif were now at the crease, and the equation was 25 off 18 balls.
Mohammad Nawaz was struck out in the 18th over by Fazl Farooqi, adding to Pakistan’s woes. Then Khushdil Shah entered. Khushdil Shah was sacked to conclude the story in the same manner that he had begun it.
Asif Ali was Pakistan’s last remaining hope, and they now needed 21 runs from their final two overs to win. In the 19th over, Fareed entered the fray. Asif Ali took a single, and Rauf was out for a duck immediately after. Next to enter was Naseem. Asif Ali hit a six to energise the Pakistani camp, but he was out on the very next ball. With only one wicket remaining, Pakistan needed 11 off six deliveries.
Naseem Shah smoked 2 sixes in the first two balls of the final over to seal the deal for Pakistan. Sri Lanka and Pakistan will meet in the 2022 Asia Cup final on Sunday.