T20 World Cup: Pakistan stay perfect as Asif heroics deny Afghanistan

By Sports Desk October 29, 2021

Asif Ali produced an inspired cameo as Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by five wickets to maintain their 100 per cent record at the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan left it late in the Group 2 clash in Dubai as they chased their opponents' total of 147-6.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib led the way with 35 each for Afghanistan, who aimed to build on their thumping 130-run win over Scotland on Monday.

The in-form Mohammad Shahzad went for just eight and missed the opportunity to become the first Afghan to reach 2,000 men's T20I runs.

Mohammad Rizwan's eight runs were enough to take him beyond 1,000 in T20 internationals since the start of 2020, however, he fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who claimed another wicket after taking five against the Scots.

Captain Babar Azam top-scored with 51 but paid the price for a questionable shot choice as he was bowled by Rashid Khan and Pakistan headed into the penultimate over requiring 24.

Step forward Asif, who produced four thumping sixes from six balls to make it three wins out of three for Pakistan.


Asif delivers again

Afghanistan appeared to be gaining the upper hand when Babar and Shoaib Malik were dismissed within five balls of each other at the end of the 18th over.

But the whole complexion of the contest turned on its head with Asif on strike.

The all-rounder hit 25 from just seven balls and farmed the strike to magnificent effect, producing another devastating display of power after his 12-ball 27 against New Zealand.


Bittersweet for Rashid

After dismissing Babar and Mohammad Hafeez, Rashid took his T20I wicket tally to 101.

He became the fourth player to reach 100 T20I wickets after Lasith Malinga, Shakib Al Hasan and Tim Southee.

Nevertheless, his efforts were not quite enough to give his nation a second successive win.

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