result
24th Match, Group 2 (N), Dubai (DSC), Oct 29 2021, ICC Men's T20 World Cup
(19/20 ov)148/5
Pakistan won by 5 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
Player Of The Match
25* (7)
asif-ali

timeline-icon Timeline

Showing newest first sort
  • timeline-icon

    All over here

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    Asif Ali. Cleans up the mess again

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    Babar Azam's shocker comes to an end

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    Hafeez tries to take on Rashid

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    Rashid creates pressure

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    Babar catches up

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    Mujeeb 4-0-14-1

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    Match-up shmatch-up

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    Afghanistan have a target

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    Even Rauf falters

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    Turnaround

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    Into the death overs we go

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    Shadab 4-0-22-1

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    Over No. 12, bowled by Hasan to Najib

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    Imad shows his tricks

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    Six or out

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    Pace is pace yaar

  • timeline-icon

    How to play Imad

  • timeline-icon

    Imad Wasim against left-hand batters

  • timeline-icon

    Afghanistan choose to bat first

  • timeline-icon

    Another grudge match

Showing newest sort
Updated 29-Oct-2021 • Published 29-Oct-2021

As it happened - Afghanistan vs Pakistan, Men's T20 World Cup, Super 12s

By Sidharth Monga

All over here

It's all over now, and we leave you with a bit from the final match report here. Thanks for joining us.

"The modern rivalry between Pakistan and Afghanistan produced yet another instant classic, but in the end Afghanistan ran out of bowling depth to lose with one over to go. Pakistan, who will know they manufactured a crisis especially with captain Babar Azam losing his wits around Rashid Khan, are now practically in the semi-final with Asif Ali bailing them out with four sixes in the 19th over."

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Asif Ali. Cleans up the mess again

That last ball of the 18th over. Afghanistan making all kinds of right moves. Rashid took out Babar in the 17th. Naveen accounted for Malik in the 18th. On the last ball, the new batter wanted a single. Asif's reaction was clear: he had his back turned to the man. He wanted the strike at the start of the next over, to be bowled by a medium-pace bowler with no mystery and a short boundary on the leg side. Quick singles are for mugs. Asif launched four clean sixes off Karim Janat in the 19th over, and ended the tense game with an over to spare. Afghanistan got their bowling choices all wrong. You can't leave three overs in the end with inexperienced bowlers. You need every over to be inch perfect. Game over, Pakistan have a foot in the semi-final. Heartbreak for Afghanistan again.

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Two overs, game over

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Babar Azam's shocker comes to an end

A perplexing innings after having set himself up to last the distance. All through this chase, Babar Azam has given the impression he wants to pick his targets, which have mostly been pace. Then Shoaib Malik did part of the job for him by hitting Rashid Khan for a six, but Babar, for some reason, keeps trying to take Rashid down when he is not even picking him. First slog, outside edge, dropped at point. Next slog, misses the wrong'un, bowled. Now he has left a new batter and Malik 26 to get in the last three overs. Might not end up losing them the match because now it is three overs of pace and inexperience, but you can't imagine a man he is often compared to, Virat Kohli, not end such a chase and play such chancy shots. I wonder if it became a matter of ego between him and Rashid.

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Hafeez tries to take on Rashid

At the start of the 15th over, needing about 8.5 an over, Pakistan knew they had two Rashid overs and two from Naveen and two from a combine of Janat and Naib. You'd think they could afford to play two maidens from Rashid, but Hafeez tries to take him down first ball of third over and holes out to long-on. Pakistan not quite calm in this chase. Their win probability is down to 60%. Rashid smells blood here. He has a slip

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Rashid creates pressure

In his first two overs, Rashid Khan has created nine false responses in his first two overs. Babar has failed to pick the wrong'un repeatedly, and then edged a legbreak past slip. Between the two overs, Nabi has taken out Zaman. At 89 for 2 after 13 overs, the game is well and truly on.

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Rashid on, finally

33 Runs scored by Babar off Rashid in all T20 cricket off 22 balls and for two dismissals. Spicy match-up. Rashid to bowl now
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Babar catches up

Babar Azam was 15 off 21 at the start of the ninth over, but during that over, bowled by Naveen, he square-drove a four and then steered one to the third man fence. Thirteen came off that over, Babar is up to a run a ball, and the win probability for Pakistan has gone up for 58 to 73%. However, the big story here is that Rashid Khan has four overs left in the last 10. This is about the time the dew got too heavy in the match against India. Afghanistan probably wanted to bowl Rashid at a new batter and make the maximum impact. Seventy-six required off last 10, Rashid has four left. He has bowled 4 overs post the 10th over on 25 occasions in all T20s. The maximum he has conceded is 28. (Final stat courtesy Gaurav Sundararaman).

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Mujeeb 4-0-14-1

Excellent spell from Mujeeb Ur Rahman but he has bowled through at the top of the innings. Pakistan have taken just 14 off him, but they won't be too displeased having given him just one wicket especially when there has been no wicket-taking threat at the other end. Pakistan 44 for 1 after seven overs, their win probability down to 58.03%.

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Match-up shmatch-up

Another hectic start to an innings. This time not so much but wily spin. Mujeeb Ur Rahman gets Mohammad Rizwan caught at deep square leg but then Fakhar Zaman hits offspinner Mhammad Nabi for a four and a six to make it 29 for 1 in four overs. Pakistan's win probability 66%.

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Whom are you supporting in India?

You want to support Pakistan because if Afghanistan win, there are three contenders for the final semi-final spot, which is now a direct shootout between India and New Zealand. If Afghanistan win tonight, India might not have a direct entry into the semi-final and might need to sneak in on net-run-rate. That is assuming Namibia and Scotland don't beat any of the top four. So as an Indian fan, you don't want Afghanistan to add to the muddle. So as an Indian fan, you want Pakistan to win. But do you? Can you?

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Afghanistan have a target

Forty-six off the last four over thanks largely to Gulbadin Naib 22-ball 34, and as a result they have 147 on the board. Now onto their stronger suit, their bowling, to defend this. Remember Afghanistan chose to bat first.

This has been some innings. At the top everybody wanted to hit sixes, three of them getting off the mark with hits into the stands. Then Nabi had to almost bat like ODI middle overs to make sure they batted their overs out, and then excellent overs at the death.

Nabi and Naib added 71 in 7.1 overs. This is the second-highest stand for a seventh or lower wicket in men's T20 world cup. The highest is 74 between Mike Hussey and Steve Smith for the seventh wicket vs Bangladesh in 2010. How do we know? We Ask Cricinfo

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Even Rauf falters

Under pressure, Haris Rauf falters in the 19th over after an outside edge goes for four. The next three balls are not his best, allowing Nabi and Naib to hit into the gaps on the leg side. The last one is down the leg side with fine leg up. At 140 for 6 in 19 overs, Afghanistan are now looking at a decent target. We might be in for a humdinger.

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Turnaround

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Hasan Ali's second over was a maiden. This is his fourth. Gulbadin Naib has taken him apart and afghanistan are now 125 for 6 in 18 overs. Now is the tough part: an over each from Afridi and Rauf left

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Into the death overs we go

Captain Mohammad Nabi has steadied the innings with a slow start and then three fours to reach nearly a run a ball. He has former captain Gulbadin Naib for company. Their task now: get their bowlers some kind of target to bowl at. They are 101 for 6 in 16 overs with Nabi at 20 off 23. There is Rashid Khan to come. Can they get 40 more?

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Shadab 4-0-22-1

Shadab Khan bowls out having bowled four overs on the trot. Only in his last did he get hit for a six, but came back with a wrong'un to get Najibullah Zadran next ball. Afghanistan 76 for 6 in 13 overs.

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Over No. 12, bowled by Hasan to Najib

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Pakistan's and Afghanistan's hero, Shahid Afridi in the stands. Rashid Khan told me of Afridi:

"He is one player who has fans all over the world. You don't get such players every day. Check his record, he doesn't have many centuries, but whenever he arrived, he would hit four-five-six sixes, entertain and leave. That is why he had fans. You had to become his fan."
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Imad shows his tricks

Imad Wasim was taken for two sixes and a four in his second over when Gurbaz and Asghar treated him like an offspinner, but he has made a stellar comeback in the middle overs. Unlike in the Powerplay, Wasim has actually looked to turn the ball a little in the middle overs and has slowed the pace down. According to Star Sports, his average pace in the middle overs was 85ks and well into the 90s in the Powerplay. Overs eight and 10 contained zero boundaries and took the wicket of a frustrated Karim Janat. Imad ends with figures of 4-0-25-2. Afghanistan 65 for 5 in 10 overs.

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Najib breaks drought with reverse-sweep off Shadab

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Six or out

This is no-holds-barred unadulterated raw T20 cricket. This is ECW if this is professional wrestling. Pakistan attacking with high pace, getting wickets, Afghanistan responding with sixes, Pakistan going to higher pace, getting wickets, Afghanistan responding with more sixes. Three batters so far have got off the mark with a six. There has been joint-quickest delivery of the tournament. There have been three sixes and four fours in a score of 49. There have been four wickets. And we are only six overs in. Don't blink, you might miss a highlight reel.

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Pace is pace yaar

While Shaheen Shah Afridi has garnered all the headlines, Haris Rauf has been their most impressive bowler to me. He is basically just like Lockie Ferguson: extreme pace, hard lengths, excellent change of pace and T20 smarts. In his first over here, he has bowled the joint-quickest delivery of the Super 12s stage at 153ks, and has taken a caught and bowled with a 143kmph hard-length delivery. Afghanistan 33 for 3 in the fifth over

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How to play Imad

Treat him like an offspinner just like Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Asghar Afghan have just done. Two big sixes square on the leg side from each of them and then a clip wide of short fine leg. Seventeen off that over and it's 30 for 2 in four overs.

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Imad Wasim against left-hand batters

7.04 Imad Wasim's economy rate against left-hand batters since the start of 2018

Imad Wasim against right-hand batters is a great match-up, but it doesn't follow that you can essentially counter him by sending in left-hand batters. Since 2018 he has bowled 741 balls against left-hand batters for just 870 runs and 36 wickets at 24.16 per wicket. The thing with Imad is that the ball is almost always going away from a left-hand batter because he hardly turns it. And Hazrat Zazai has made the fatal mistake of trying to slog him into the leg side, giving Imad a 37th left-hand batter's wicket. Afghanistan 8 for 1 after two overs.

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23 Number of wickets Shaheen Shah Afridi has taken in the first two overs of a T20 innings since the start of 2018, the most by any bowler
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Streak vs streak

17 Number of consecutive matches Afghanistan have won in the UAE. Pakistan have won 13 in a row. One of the streaks comes to an end tonight
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Afghanistan choose to bat first

The only team to have successfully defended a total in the Super 12s stage, Afghanistan have decided to bat first after winning the toss. It is a surprise because this stage of this World Cup has been extremely favourable to the chasing sides. Mohammad Nabi, their captain, says he wants to trust what they did in the last game. My suspicion is, he wants to his stronger suit, the bowling, to be in action in the final stages of the game.

Both the sides are unchanged.

Afghanistan 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 3 Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Mohammad Nabi (capt.), 6 Asghar Afghan, 7 Gulbadin Naib, 8 Karim Janat, 9 Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Pakistan Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 2 Babar Azam (capt.), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Asif Ali, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi

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Another grudge match

The running gag in this World Cup, what with Pakistan picking out New Zealand and England as sworn enemies, is the number of rivalries to keep track of. Amid all that, perhaps the most bitter one gets overlooked. The last time Pakistan met Afghanistan as a World Cup, there were riots in the stands at Headingley in Leeds in northern England. This is an intense relationship that I tried to understand in this piece a day before the match.

Just like with the two Punjabs that the 1947 partition gave us, people either side of the Durand Line have more in common with each other than with some people within their own country. It has divided people that were Pashtun well before they were Afghans or Pakistani or Indian. When USSR invaded Afghanistan, the Pashtun people found refuge in Peshawar. Selling nuts in Pakistan and coming back with cotton fabric was a legitimate business for Afghans - and vice versa for Pakistanis - until recently. Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib's family had been in that business even before Pakistan existed. Naib didn't know till he was 11 that he was from Afghanistan because he grew up a refugee in Pakistan. Almost every family has relations on the other side of the border.

Never mind the ugliness in the stands, Afghanistan and Pakistan gave us an instant classic that day. Here's hoping for more of the same cricket-wise and less of the animosity among the crowd.

There's enough riding on this as it is. If Pakistan win, they will have eliminated any doubts around their semi-final qualification. If Afghanistan win, they throw their hat in the ring. The ring currently has New Zealand and India grappling for what look likes one spot.

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