Pakistan Completes Hat-Trick of Wins

AFG vs PAK, T20 World Cup 2021 – Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 5 wickets in Dubai

Afghanistan 147/6

Pakistan 148/5

Pakistan and Afghanistan’s current rivalry delivered another instant classic, but Afghanistan ran out of bowling depth and lost with one over to go. Pakistan, who will know they created a crisis when skipper Babar Azam lost his mind around Rashid Khan, is now almost in the semi-finals after Asif Ali saved them with four sixes in the 19th over.

It was just as loud and tense off the field, with images of rush outside the stadium as police attempted to keep out ticketless fans, similar to the unrest that occurred at the 2019 World Cup match between these two teams at Headingley. Afghanistan made all the running on the field, whether it was a fast start, a slowdown to prevent being bowled out, the finishing quick, the Mujeeb Ur Rahman assault first up, Rashid’s holding back, or the Naveen-ul-Haq 18th over to put pressure.

The start was pure crazy. Three hitters hit sixes on their first powerplay shots. Haris Rauf bowled the Super 12s stage’s joint-fastest ball. Shaheen Afridi failed to take a wicket. In his first inning, Imad Wasim struck out a left-handed hitter, and in his second, he hauled two right-handed batters. It didn’t end there, though. After a few overs of silence, Najibullah Zadran reverse-swept Shadab Khan for four, followed by four and six in his next two overs. Imad got Janat in the interim.

Mohammad Nabi had only scored five out of twelve by the time Najibullah was taken off. At the start of the death overs, he would slow down to 20 off 23. They were well aware that they had lost too many wickets upfront and that they needed wickets in hand if they were to score substantial runs in the back four. Afghanistan had something to work with after 46 out of the previous four. Mujeeb bowled four overs in a row for 14 runs and the wicket of Mohammad Rizwan, proving his versatility and precision.

Afghanistan might have bowled an over of Rashid here in the hope of getting a wicket, but instead, they decided to put all their eggs in his basket by trying to bowl medium speed in the following three overs. This is when Babar gained some momentum and was able to score a run. Pakistan needed 76 from 10 overs with nine wickets in hand when Rashid was eventually introduced.

The opportunity had come to take advantage of Afghanistan’s weakest bowler and the short leg-side boundary. He moved deep into the crease on the first ball, converting the yorker into a half-volley that sailed miles over long-off. The next one was a flawless yorker. He plucked the third one for a flat little six since it was short. Next, another flawless yorker. The last two, however, failed to meet the length requirement, and Asif was forced to abandon the game.

Afghanistan made a blunder with their bowling selections. You can’t leave three overs to inexperienced bowlers towards the finish. Every over must be flawless to the millimeter. Pakistan has qualified for the semi-finals. Afghanistan has suffered another setback.