Pakistan Cricket lookouts were endeavoring to behold the dynamic sights, full of sixes during the game. It was years since such a sight was gazed upon by the craving devotees. Maybe, the era ended after Shahid Afridi retired from international cricket but upon witnessing Asif Ali during Pak vs Afg Wednesday’s encounter of the T20 World Cup 2021, it felt like Pakistan have once again produced an electrifying finisher.
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first. The batters were ready to take their chances and tried to attack the bowlers always. This approach put them in a precarious situation at a halfway mark of their batting inning. By the end, Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib combined for a stupendous stand and took Afghanistan to a fighting total of 147/6.
Later, Mujib ur Rahman was the trump card for them while defending the decent-looking score. He bowled four economical overs to build the pressure. Rashid Khan, the potent leg-spinner was induced after the 10th over. It was the point where many thought that Nabi has lost tricks but they turned out to be wrong after he picked Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam’s wickets.
Pakistan looked suffering facing the Afghan bowling attack but somehow, they crossed the line doing enough against them. Although the chase was planned to be near perfection but losing Mohammad Rizwan, and other contributors at the wrong time threw the match wide open to the end. Babar Azam joined forces with Fakhar Zaman and added a much-needed partnership of 63 runs. The captain later built up an all-important run-stand with Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
After Babar departed following the wicket of Malik, the Afghanistan team was a little open-handed and high on hopes as the game looked balanced at the point. But, Asif Ali’s whirlwind knock of 25* of just 7 balls will be remembered and cherished forever by every cricket fan.
It was not the first time Asif proved his critics wrong. People believed he can do magic only in red jerseys but he cast a spell on an international level too. At first, he struck with a match-winning knock versus New Zealand and now targetted Afghan bowlers to do so.
Pakistan once again provided a blockbuster finish. As the commentator said, take a bow, Asif, a new finisher is born!
He showed everyone that his inning versus the Black Caps was not a fluke. The six-hitting machine gave huge setbacks to Karim Janat, induced to deliver the 19th over. Asif went for four big sixes to turn the tables, bringing the team’s victory, now 3 in 3 for Pakistan. They have almost booked their slot in the T20 World Cup 2021 semifinal.
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