Asia Cup 2018
Pakistan sneak home in last-over thriller
Shoaib Malik hits 11 runs from the final over as Pakistan edge past Afghanistan in the Asia Cup
22 September 2018, 07:19 AM AEST
Experienced batsman Shoaib Malik hit a six and a boundary to pull off a sensational last-over win for Pakistan against a spirited Afghanistan in the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Needing 11 runs to win from the final over, Malik pulled the second ball from paceman Aftab Alam over the deep square leg boundary and then whacked the next to deep fine leg as Pakistan pulled off a nerve-wracking win in 49.3 overs.
Spirit of Cricket!#PAKvAFG #AsiaCup2018 #HarSaansMeinBolo pic.twitter.com/KWwf4OVsUW— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) September 21, 2018
Hashmatullah Shahidi had earlier missed out on a maiden hundred by a mere three runs but still steered Afghanistan to a challenging total of 6-257.
Pakistan were off to a disastrous start in their run chase when opener Fakhar Zaman was trapped leg-before off the sixth ball of the innings by spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Imam-ul-Haq scored a 104-ball 80 with five boundaries and a six while Babar Azam knocked an attractive 94-ball 66 with four boundaries and a six during their innings, repairing the innings with a 154-run stand for the second wicket.
But both fell within the space of four runs as spinner Rashid Khan (3-46) brought Afghanistan back in the game and with just five overs remaining, Pakistan still needed 42 runs to win.
Despite losing skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (eight), Asif Ali (seven) and Mohammad Nawaz (ten), Malik kept his cool to stop Afghanistan from posting their third straight win after they'd beaten Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the first round.
Earlier, Shahidi hit three consecutive boundaries in the final over off Usman Shinwari, but failed to get to three figures off the last delivery after Afghanistan won the toss and batted.
Shahidi added 94 for the fourth wicket with his skipper Asghar Afghan, who smashed five sixes and two fours in his 56-ball 67.
But it was Shahidi who held one end against Pakistan's bowling in an innings that featured seven boundaries after left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (3-57) had put the brakes on Afghanistan's early progress.
Shahidi had added 63 for the third wicket with Rahmat Shah, who scored a measured 36.
Pakistani fielders dropped four catches, three off debutant paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi, who finished with 2-38.
India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in Dubai and now meet Pakistan on Sunday, also in Dubai. Afghanistan and Bangladesh meet in Abu Dhabi on the same day.
Top two teams from the Super Four Stage will play the final in Dubai on September 28.