that's it! Malik swipes it to the fine leg boundary and wins it for Pakistan with his 43-ball fifty. Aftab is on his haunces, covering his face and possibly in tears. But this is all Malik, he's engineered this to perfection. Looked for the yorker, it was off slightly, a leg stump overpitched ball and it was an easy put away
12:13am Whew. Is that the game that kicks life into the rest of this tournament? It was much needed, as was tomorrow's break. For you, for the players, and for us commentators too. It's been a crazy night. We'll see you when the tournament resumes. Thanks for joining today, we hope you enjoyed it. On behalf of Saurabh and Thilak - have a good night!
Shoaib Malik: Well, Rameez bhai, being a senior player when you've played enough cricket, you know when you already have a start, the goal is to bat till the 50th over. That's the only thing I had in mind. At one point the required rate was almost ten but I kept telling myself to bat till the end because we had batsmen to hit the big shots later. I think even the good bowlers, when they're bowling in the middle overs, they are confident and want to get you out. But in the end, even they are on the back foot. As a batsman, you can show authority on them. I would like to congratulate them [Afghanistan] though, they have been improving every day. ["I need that," he says when Rameez Raja mentions the rest day tomorrow.]
Shoaib Malik is the Man of the Match.
Sarfraz Ahmed: We were completely rocked by the end. Credit should go to Babar and Imam and we can't praise Malik enough. Afghanistan batted very sensibly, and they have the best three spinners in the world. Especially on these pitches. Anyone who chases against them will have to do really well, and we did. Unfortunately Shadab failed the fitness test this morning and we were a bowler short, but the batting was strengthened. Once again, I can't praise Malik enough. It wasn't easy to chase 257 on this and the way Babar and Imam showed patience before Malik, it'll give us a lot of confidence. After a long time, about 18 months, we had a terrible fielding day. We'll have to address that.
Asghar Afghan: First I want to congratulate Pakistan. Yeah today was tough and thrilling. I think it's the first in this tournament that the game was this tough., it was good for the crowd I will give a lot of credit to Babar and Imam. If Malik [Shahzad catch] had been taken, it would have been easy for us. But when you give a chance to a mature batsman, it becomes difficult. Today Hashmat and I played really well, because we wanted 240+. But our fielding didn't work today along with our seam bowling. I think on this kind of wicket, Rashid is difficult. That's why we went with him, but they played very well.
Farooq: "Great match, pure love for the Afghans. They are great ambassadors for their land. Their time will come. "
Meezan: "Great to see yet another good team emerging from the sub continent. Afghanistan has earned respect of the cricketing world with their Asia Cup performances. Welcome to the big league boys."
Hadi: "Brilliant just brilliant to see Malik and Hasan getting down to console the bowler and Malik giving a hug to Shahzad. Great sportsmanship. "
Hadi: "Finally an amazing thriller of a match in an otherwise bizarre tournament setup! AFG lost but played like champions and for sure will give India a tough day as well"
Moazam: "Believe me, it's not easy to be a Pakistani and a Pakistani fan. Been skipping my heartbeats. Made my heartbeats so fast during the last 5 overs but its worth it at the end . Phewwww"
Benny: "In his own special way, Shoaib Malik is the goat"
Jay Padia: "Shoaib Malik's innings was akin to M S Dhoni of yore. Take it to the end, keep one end secure, let others hit a six and when it matters, finish it off in style. Good fight, Afghanistan and good wrap, Pakistan!"
Caleb: "For what was pretty good death bowling on the whole, there were just too many six balls towards the end. Missed opportunity for Afghanistan and it's the small margins at the highest level, but that game was winner take a top 2 finish in all likelihood "
Muhammad Omer D: "What a match... Well done Afghanistan.. Congratulations Pakistan"
Vipul : "Rashid Khan is the Neil Johnson of Afghanistan. Typically contributes the most and sees it all washed away."
Abdullah Iqbal: "Six of Asif , Six of Nawaz , Six of Hasan , Six of Malik. The tale of 4 sixes <3"
11:51 It's really Malik's experience trumping Afghanistan's inexperience. With his shot selection, with his calculations, and with his instructions to the lower-order batsmen, Malik brought the game where he wanted it to be: in the last over against a not-so-confident seamer. And boy did he punish him.
Before that, Imam and Babar with a 154-run stand that should have made this a lot easier than it was. But is it even Pakistan if this isn't how it's done? A three wicket win.
Aarish Mustafa: "@Haseeb how do you know malik isn't playing for his fifty here ;)"
bowl me what you want, says the old hero, I'm going to send you away. It's short of a length, it's a slower ball, it sits up and he whips it over deep square. Bad, bad ball.
overpitched ball outside off and he misses out! Extra cover and mid-off in but he mistimes the drive. Sends Hasan back too
10 off 6. Shoaib Malik is on strike. The strategy meetings have begun., Short fine, point, extra cover and mid-off are the fielders inside. Does that mean a short of a length strategy?
Haseeb: "Will the 2 runs denied at last 2 balls of Afghan innings make the difference? This is what happens when personal milestones are more precious than teams good."
narrowly misses off stump. Rashid is mad at himself. It's another googly, Hasan swipes across the line and misses. But he's done his job
Hasan will look to play the same shot again, make no mistake...
beaten. Googly outside off, swings across the line again but this time it sneaks through from under his bat
he has swing it over wide long-on! This is excellent strategy. It has to be the guy at the other end who has to take on Rashid. Malik gives Hasan the license, Hasan uses it to club a googly with the slog sweep
Hasan Ali walks in. He can smash em too...
smashes middle and leg! Short of a length and he ends up swinging from over it. It's never easy to play horizontal bat shots against him. But it's what he needed to do. Couldn't get bat on it.
inside half as he steps out and cuts out the room for himself. Sort of yorks himself at a leg stump line and can only drag it out to deep midwicket
length and into his body. Drags it with the turn to deep square leg
Wow that six has made such a big difference. They'll back themselves to get 12-13 in the last over if they can see off Rashid here. Or will Nawaz go after him right away? Won't be a bad option...
yorker just outside off, jammed pitch side into the off side
clears the long-on boundary with a sensational slog! That is pure, unadulterated, old-fashioned swinging through the line and it's big, it's awesome and it's six. Aftab drops the slower ball short and it sits up for a spanking outside off. Nawaz sends it flying. Just hat was needed.
yorker gives nothing to Malik as he looks to make room. It's at leg stump and he can only jam it pitch-side
slices to sweeper's right. Full ball outside off, gets on one knee and can't find the boundary
offcutter at a length, in at off stump. Looks to swipe across the line and gets it down to long-on
full and into the stumps. Looks to drive through the off side but it comes back to the bowler off the toe-end
Aftab around the wicket
Shahzada : "Pakistan missing shadab and faheem here"
Rajkumar Bhaska: "All you need ~10 an over & scored 7 runs of first 2 balls. then got out next ball trying to hit. madness :-("
Kumar: "These days I dont get excited for Kohli or the likes as much as when Rashid is in play! At 20 years, he is a genuine cricket player who does whatever he does hard and real well! Bowling, Fielding, throwing, batting! Oh boy!"
full outside off, leans in and drags this off the toe-end to deep midwicket's right. The bad connection allowing them the second
short of a length on off stump, another skidder. Hurriedly drops it into the off side and they steal a single
inside edge onto front pad. Gets back in crease and looks to whip this through midwicket. It's a quicker one
Mohammad Nawaz, handy allrounder himself. Can he handle the pressure?
taken at long-off! The revenge of the spinner! Holds his index finger up and stares into the batsman's eyes as he walks off. Full fizzing legbreak wide outside off, Asif has his front leg well outside leg stump. He won't get leverage for this because his weight is all over the place. Slices it off the toe and a reverse-cup from Aftab Alam out at the boundary
see you later! Oh what a hit! Googly pushed through a little flat, on a length at off stump and he has got down on one knee and smoked this 96 metres!