And he's done it! Another missed yorker, another smack over long off! Wild scenes as Naseem Shah is beside himself! Afghanistan are absolutely shattered! What a game of cricket, what a tournament, as Pakistan join Sri Lanka in the finals of the Asia Cup 2022!
So that about wraps things up from us, on behalf of Hemant and Chandan, thanks for keeping us company. And while the finalists have been decided, there's still pride on the line. I'm sure both Afghanistan and India will want to end the tournament on a high and possibly try out some new combinations, so be sure to join us tomorrow for all that and more! Until then, good night!
Player of the Match goes to Shadab Khan for his 26-ball 36 and 1 for 27 with the ball: "It has been a good tournament so far for me. Playing in UAE helps us - PSL and other series. We have that advantage. (Sharjah pitch compared to Dubai) Personally I didn't find much difference. It was a bit low. The way the target was and the way we batted, the pitch did not reflect that. I played a rash shot but should've finished it, since I was set. If I hadn't been out rashly, the game would've finished much earlier. You know spinners do well here in Sharjah, so as a bowling unit we wanted to keep it tight. (Nawaz-Shadab combo) To keep run-rate in check, you need to produce dot balls. That makes batters play rash shots and you can take wickets. If I don't give runs, then Nawaz will take the wickets. And vice-versa. (Flexible batting order) Nawaz and I try to bat according to the game's situation. Because they have more spinners, I told Babar I should bat higher. Even Babar felt so, since I play spinners well. Nawaz and I have been playing club cricket for years, I knew him first as a batter itself. (Naseem's sixes) Those sixes will always be remembered. Our management has promoted our bowlers to bat a bit, because you don't know what situation will come in a game. Our bowlers also have calibers to finish games with the bat"
Winning Captain Babar Azam: "To be honest, it was quite a tensed environment in the dressing room. We couldn't build partnerships like last few games, but the way Naseem finished it, you could see the mahaul (vibe) after that. Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi are one of the best so you need to take chances with them but the main plan was to take it deep. The way we started bowling, we did well. The way we kept them down to 130, want to give credit to the bowlers. As I said before, the lack of partnerships made the game close. (Last over) I was in the dressing room. But at the back of the mind, I thought it is cricket, and I have seen Naseem bat like this, so I had a little bit of belief. This reminded me of Javed Miandad's six in Sharjah. The way our momentum is going, we want to continue and not repeat our mistakes. Next game will be a new game."
Catch of the Match goes to Azmatullah Omarzai for his role in the dismissal of Shadab Khan.
Losing Captain Mohammed Nabi: "The boys were brilliant with the ball and the field. But again we didn't finish well, we didn't control our nerves at the end. We didn't give up at any stage. We thought that chasing 130 is tough, like Bangladesh the other day. The fielders supported the bowlers a lot. We gave two options to the bowlers, slower balls and yorkers, and sadly we couldn't execute it when we needed to. Tomorrow we will play with the same energy. Thanks to the fans for the lovely support.
Presentation ceremony almost underway...
CharithD : "@Madushka: why no mention of the fight between Asif Ali " Apologies, in the midst of all the excitement, wasn't able to take it all in. But I believe the afters were surrounding Fareed giving Asif a bit of a send off after the wicket, which Asif understandably didn't take much of a liking too. Much ado about nothing in the end, I reckon.
kalpit: "What will be the team combination of Pakistan and Srilanka on Friday ? Will keep the players safe for final for sure." Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if some squad players are given a run out, while others with niggling injuries might be given some much needed rest.
PD: "Heart-broken for Afganistan, a victory would have done wonders to their confidence.. but they should hold their heads high, they've been really good this tournament!"
Abdullah : "Eye of Sauron: 15.4 was the last four of the match. After that, it has been 5 wickets and 5 sixes. Pure entertainment."
Furqan: "We will watch these sixes for years and years to come..!!!"
Bilal : "As someone famously once said. "Pakistan, one minute down. Next minute up." What a game of cricket! "
9.30pm Well, can you believe it?! Having looked like they'd clutched defeat from the jaws of victory, it's Naseem Shah, Pakistan's number 11, who has hit two back to back sixes to secure Pakistan a place in the final. But spare a thought for Afghanistan who fought with every thing they had to stay alive in this tournament. After losing the toss, generally a death wish in Sharjah, a great bowling performance from Pakistan had restricted Afghanistan to just 129. But the Afghani bowlers easily added some 20-30 runs of value to the total with their bowling and discipline to bring them back into the game. But it's never over until it's over, and close enough isn't ever quite enough. This will be a tough lesson for Afghanistan, but I'm sure they will come back stronger. As for Pakistan, they have shown some great resilience, which will hold them in good stead ahead of tougher encounters ahead.
5 off 5
Zameer: "5 wickets in last 17 balls"
Six down the ground! Misses the yorker, it's a low full toss and Naseem, sends this back where it came from! High over long off!
11 needed off 6. 1 wicket in hand. Farooqi with the all.
Giggity: "Will they check for no-ball for last dismissal? Like yesterday? Seemed close..." This was the first bouncer for the over, so no such issues today.
length on off, swings hard and gets this down to long-on
12 off 7, 1 wicket in hand.
And Ali is gone! Is this the game!? This was the slower bouncer, and Asif goes for a hook he was never really set for. He can only manage a top edge to short fine leg, who runs backwards and takes the catch
And boy does he deliver! A half volley in the slot on off, angling in and Asif just swings right through this. High over cow corner.
Asif Ali on strike. Pakistan need a one man show here.
Full outside off, goes for the drive and gets a thick outside edge to third man
So no more reviews left for Afghanistan.
back of a length, but it's down leg. There's an appeal from Gurbaz, but I sense it's to avoid the wide. Although, wait, they seem to have spent their final review on this. And yeah, this was nowhere near the bat.
Hammad : "Pakistan had same scenario 21 off 12 against India on Sunday "
But the wickets column was certainly not the same.
And it's another one! Chopped on again! This is wide outside off, almost sixth stump line, back of a length. Rauf just looks to swing at this and only ends up getting a thick inside edge on to the stumps.
short from around the wicket, angled in to the batter. Pulled towards deep square leg
Chopped on! Game on! Another fuller length ball outside off, not quite a yorker and Khushdil goes for the drive. But a little deviation off the pitch catches the inside edge on the way to the base of the stumps! What an over from Farooqi
Muhammad Arif: "I imagine the hearts of Indians are beating faster than those of the Pakistanis right now. "
Around the wicket, another great yorker, 140kph. Makes room but can only drag this towards long-on
Mirza Zaid: "Now Pakistan has last recognized batting pair on crease..a little sensible inning needed with calculated risk and aggression..If another wicket falls , it will go 70-30 I'm Afg favor."
Another attempted yorker, 141kph, on the pads. Clipped towards square leg
Yorker from wide of the crease, 141kph, from around the wicket. Dug out past the outstretched right hand of the bowler for one
Quicker ball now, 138kph, again raps the batter on the pads. But this is going down leg.
Kate: "How is the over rate doing?" I imagine Afghanistan will be fine, considering the lengthy injury stoppages as well as the number of wickets to have fallen.
Traps him lbw! It's a gorgeous slower ball, it's the off cutter. Pitches on off, and nips in. The batter looks to work this onside and looks to have been struck in front of off on the back foot. Pakistan review, but this looks dead on. Yes, that is a wasted review, as this is shown to be crashing into middle.
Farooqi is close.
Hassan: "Technically, asif ali has hit 5 sixes against afaghanistan in last 6 balls he played against them."
Bimal: "Game now in Asif Ali zone! He will get it done"
length on off, opens the face and looks to guide this past short third but only finds the man
good length on leg, deflects off the front pad square on the onside for one
pushed through on a length, gets back and nudges this to the right of Rashid, who can't field it clearly
Slog sweep for ANOTHER six! What a shot first ball. This was a little quicker, in the slot and he's in position early to absolutely clobber this
But Rashid has the last laugh! This is again tossed up outside off - brave from Rashid considering the result last ball - but this time it's the leg spinner. Shadab looks to smash this down towards long-off, but only manages a thick looping outside edge to short third man
slog sweep over square leg! This is not quite on a good length and Shadab gets right under it.
Rashid's final over