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Pakistan beat Afghanistan in nail-biting T20 World Cup match

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Oct 30, 2021 - 09:01 AM

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan on Friday beat Afghanistan in a nail-biting contest by five wickets, clinching a third straight win at the T20 World Cup.

Skipper Babar Azam made a half-century before Asif Ali hit four sixes in the 19th over as the green shirts chased the 148-run target at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Afghanistan opted to bat first after winning the toss, and found themselves 39-4 by the sixth over. But an unbeaten 71-run partnership between Gulbaden Naib and Mohammad Nabi took them from 76-6 to 147-6.

Chasing the target, Pakistan lost opener Mohammad Rizwan with only 13 runs on board. Azam and Fakhar Zaman, however, struck a 59-run partnership, bringing the score to 72/1 in 10 overs.

Zaman, who scored 30 runs off 27 balls, fell prey to a deceptive delivery by captain Mohammad Nabi, and was declared lbw.

Mohammad Hafeez failed to perform once again, and was caught on the long-on while trying to hit on a googly by right-arm spinner Rashid Khan.

Azam’s lose shot also cost him a ticket to the pavilion, putting the team under pressure.

In the eventful 17th over, Shoaib Malik smashed a mighty six but was caught behind in the next over.

With Pakistan needing 24 from 12 deliveries to win, Ali (25 from seven) emerged a hero, hitting hit four sixes to young Karim Janat in the 19th over, finishing the nerve-shattering fixture with one over to spare. He was declared man of the match.

Pakistan beat India and New Zealand in their first two games, and matches against Namibia and Scotland are remaining.

Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Pakistan, but called Afghanistan’s performance “impressive.”

“Never have I seen a cricketing nation rise as rapidly as Afghanistan in international cricket & become so competitive,” he said on Twitter. “With this competitive spirit & talent the future of cricket is bright in Afghanistan.”

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