Pakistan are on the brink of the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s Twenty/20 Cricket World Cup after a thrilling five-wicket win over Afghanistan in Group 2 at Dubai.
In an enthralling match, Pakistan were cruising in a chase of 148 until captain, Babar Azam was bowled by Rashid Khan for 51 off 47 balls with 4 fours.
Shoaib Malik was caught behind in the next over for 19, but with 24 needed from the last 12 balls, Asif Ali hit four sixes in the 19th over to seal success with six balls to spare.
Asif finished with a stunning 25 not out from seven balls, sending a vocal crowd wild in the closing moments.
Afghanistan, who played their part in the thriller, bated first after winning the toss and made 147-6 off their 20 overs after a battling unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 71 between Mohammad Nabi (35 not out off 32 balls) and Gulbadin Naib (35 not out off 25 balls).
They were 76-6 after Pakistan’s bowlers, and Afghanistan’s attacking approach, created an electric atmosphere.
The final scores: Afghanistan 147-6 off 20 overs, Pakistan 148-5 off 19 overs.
Pakistan, undoubtedly one of the favourites to win the tournament are top of Group 2 with three wins from three matches. The other teams in the group, including India and New Zealand, have games in hand, but in their remaining matches, Pakistan will play against Namibia and Scotland, the two lowest-ranked teams left in the tournament.