Pakistan vs Afghanistan, Dubai International Stadium, October 29
Match Result: Pakistan won by 5 wickets
Player of the Match: Asif Ali
Match Report: What a tremendous match. So much energy, so many momentum swings from start to finish. Afghanistan would’ve felt like they had the edge after that 18th over, and yet the chase never made it to the 20th.
147 was clearly 20-25 less on this pitch but Afghanistan fought hard, right from the start, getting Rizwan early to set to the tone. Babar and Fakhar did rebuild things with a steady stand but Pakistan weren’t running away with the game. And it stung them as Rashid then produced a cracker of a spell. Wickets started to fall and Pakistan’s captain was guilty of throwing it away against Rashid’s final delivery. Naveen-ul-Haq then started to crank up the pressure and it soon became 24 needed off 12. But Asif Ali stole the show from there on.
Pakistan firm up their place at the top of the table with three wins from three.Pakistan, who will know they produced a crisis especially with captain Babar Azam losing his wits around Rashid Khan, are now practically in the semi-final with Asif Ali saving them out with four sixes in the 19th over.
Babar Azam | Pakistan captain: “We started well with the ball, got a lot of wickets like we planned. Maybe gave away 10-15 runs too many at the end. With the bat, we couldn’t capitalise the powerplay as we wanted to. At the end, with Malik and Asif Ali, we knew they could do the job.
He (Asif Ali) is known for this and I was confident pre-tournament itself that he would deliver when needed. We planned our strategies well with the ball, and also ensured that he kept the uneven boundary dimensions in mind while bowling.
Spinners were getting some grip from the track, Afghanistan have quality bowlers too and I was trying to take it as deep as possible. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish things off but credit to Asif Ali.”
Mohammad Nabi | Afghanistan captain: “We didn’t start well but the total on the board was a decent one for this pitch. We discussed that 150 would be a good score and so we dug deep.
And then got some runs in the last few overs. I think three spinners are enough. Rashid bowled at the right time and we tried to take the game deep.
Asif Ali played really well in the 19th over. Lot of positives from today’s game. We fought really well till the end.”
Highest SR in T20 World Cups (25+ runs)
414.3 Dwayne Smith (29 off 7) v Ban 2007
362.5 Yuvraj Singh (58 off 16) v Eng 2007
357.1 Asif Ali (25* off 7) v Afg 2021
353.8 Jehan Mubarak (46* off 13) v Ken 2007
340.8 Carlos Brathwaite (34* off 10) v Eng 2016
Asif Ali | Player of the Match: “I would like to congratulate the Pakistan team and all our fans. I was confident of finishing it off from this end and that’s what I told Shoaib Malik before he got out. I look at the situation of the match, and I target the bowlers accordingly.
I was talking to Shoaib when I walked in to bat and I told him that I was confident enough of getting 20-25 in one over against Karim Janat, which I did.”