Pakistan took on Afghanistan in a Group 2 Super 12s game in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Full scorecard here
Match summary: Afghanistan impress but fall short in crunch-time
By Gautam Bhattacharyya, Senior Associate Editor
Afghanistan gave a scare to the in-form Pakistan before going down by five wickets in their Super-12 match at a well attended Dubai International Cricket Stadium this evening.
Their performance swung between the ordinary to being potentially dangerous as Rashid Khan struck to remove skipper Babar Azam for 51 with Pakistan still not quite home. However, lower order batsman Asif Ali, who turned the match on it’s head against New Zealand, struck four sixes in the 19th over to finish off the game with an over to spare.
Earlier, a seventh wicket stand of 71 between skipper Mohammed Nabi (35 not out) and Gulabdin Naib (34 not out) helped Afghanistan get out of the rot to post a competitive total of 147/6 off 20 overs.
Pakistan win by five wickets
Pakistan wins in style! Explosive Asif finishes the game in the 19th over with four sixes.
Pakistan need 6 from 7 balls
Pace bowler Janat fails in the battle of nerves as Asif Ali lifts him for two timely sixes. Now a third one as Pakistan are on the doorstep of a thrilling win - and a berth in the semis.
Will Asif Ali, the hero of the last match against New Zealand, be able take Pakistan home this time? Two overs to go and 24 runs required...
Seamer Naveen impressive in the 18th over as he removes veteran Shoaib Malek, caught behind. Can Afghanistan pull off a stunner here?
Fourth wicket down. Babar Azam bowled by Rashid Khan in the same over after seeing him dropped. Is it getting any tighter with 26 still to get from last 3 overs? Babar goes for 51 in 47. Pak 122/4. Hard hitter Asif Khan walks in to bat.
50 for Babar Azam
Mr consistent Babar Azam gets his 50 in 45 deliveries and keeps the score board moving. Pakistan need 39 in 25 deliveries.
100 up for Pakistan
The experienced Shoaib Malik and skipper Babar Azam are on the crease. The target is quite achievable now as Afghanistan have run out spinners with Rashid Khan to bowl only one over. Medium pacers will not be able to stop Pakistan batters from reaching the target of 148. Pak 101/3 in 15 overs.
Khan did his job in three overs, removing the experienced Mohammed Hafeez. The asking rate is hovering close to 10...
Third wicket down, Rashid Khan strikes as Hafeez tries to hit big but is caught on the boundary by Gulbadin. That is the 100th T20 international wicket for Khan. Pakistan need 50 runs from six overs.
This one is out for sure - Fakhar Zaman is trapped LBW by spinner Nabi. Pakistan are 75/2 in 12.1 overs.
Rashid Khan has got Babar Azam out lbw! Or has he? It's been reviewed and the skipper survives a scare!
10 overs - Pak 72/1. (Need 76 runs from 60 balls)
Pakistan batters look comfortable but they still have to face magic spinner Rashid Khan who does not allow batsmen to hit freely. Khan's overs will decide the fate of the match. Fakhar Zaman looks in good touch and playing elegant shots.
Young Afghan paceman Karim Zanat proves expensive in trying to bounce. Babar picks him up for a delicate upper cut as Pakistan cruise along.
9 overs - Pak 62/1
Nabi is allowing the pressure to ease on the two seasoned Pakistan batsmen Azam and Zaman with his medium pacers in these conditions. Pakistan have been able to consolidate the innings after the early loss of in-form Rizwan in the third over. It's the ninth over but still no Rashid Khan?
5 overs - Pak 31/1 (Need 117 from 90 balls)
Pakistan batters are being cautious against the Afghan spin attack. They have scored only 31 runs in five overs losing one wicket.
4 overs - Pak 29/1
Afghanistan attack with two spinners in tandem in Nabi and Mujib. It's the right call as their only chance lies in applying pressure and picking up a few early wickets. The duo and Rashid can account for 12 overs between them, but Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman are in no mood to slow down.
First wicket down. Mohammad Rizwan is caught off Mujeeb on the boundary by Naveen. Pak 12/1.
Pakistan batters, captain Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan, begin the chase of 148 with spinner Mujeeb opening the bowling for Afghanistan.
Mid-match summary: Nabi, Naib give Afghanistan something to bowl at
By Gautam Bhattacharyya, Senior Associate Editor
A seventh wicket stand of 71 between skipper Mohammed Nabi (35 not out) and Gulabdin Naib (34 not out) helped Afghanistan get out of the rot to post a competitive total of 147/6 off 20 overs against Pakistan.
Opting to bat, Afghanistan were left struggling against a world class seam attack – and rush of blood – and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They were 76 for six when Nabi and Naib took charge of the latter part of the innings with some cracking shots.
It’s now left to Afghanistan’s talented trio of spinners to make a match of it…
Mid match summary: Afghanistan recover well to post decent total
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Senior Assistant Editor
Pakistan pacers who started off very well showing the top Afghan batters back to the pavilion failed to contain captain Nabi (35 in 32 balls) and hard hitter Gulbadin Naib who scored a brilliant 35 in 25 balls.
Hassan Ali gave them enough width to hit him for 22 runs in the 18th over of the innings. Their slogging continued in the 19th over when they hit Haris Rauf for 15 runs. However, left-arm pacer Afridi choked them in the last over with his immaculate yorkers and slow deliveries.
Pakistan's spinners bowled very well with Imad conceding just 25 runs with two wickets and Shaddab giving away 22 runs with one wicket. Babar Azam should have given a bowl to spinner Mohammed Hafeez or Shoaib Malik to keep the pressure on.
In the end Afghanistan managed a decent fighting total of 147/6. Pakistan batters will need to watch the Afghan spinners especially Rahis.
It's been exciting stuff - at one stage Afghanistan were really struggling but they managed to pull it back. This is what Mr Cricket UAE Anis Sajan thought of their innings...
Pakistan need 148 to win
A seventh wicket stand of 71 between skipper Nabi and Gulabdin Naib has now given Afghanistan something to bowl at. The duo stopped the rot and took advantage of a softening ball with strokes all around the wicket. Pakistan need 158 to win.
20 overs - Afg 147/6
Let-arm pacer Afridi manages to contain the Afghan batters with yorkers and slow deliveries. But Afghanistan recovered well and post a decent score of 147/6 in 20 overs. A good comeback from them after a poor start.
Pakistan's pacers were punished by Afghan captain Nabi and hard hitter Gulbadin. Hassan Ali conceded 22 runs in the 18th over while Haris Rauf gives away 15 in the 19th. Afg 143/6.
Look who's watching!
A semblance of a partnership between skipper Nabi and Gulabdin as they cross the 100-run mark. If they reach 130 or thereabouts - a difficult task against Afridi and Rauf - Pakistan can afford to take their time as they close in on a last four spot.
16 overs - Afg 101/6
Pakistani pacers Afridi and Rauf are back in the attack in the slog overs making it ever more difficult for Afghanistan batters to swing and try to get a decent total. 101/6 in 16 overs.
That's the sixth wicket. Shaddab strikes, Najib Zadran could not read the sharp off spinner and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Muhammad Rizwan. Afg 76/6 in 12.5 overs.
Zadran had picked up Shadab for a lovely six behind square - but then prods at one which spins across his bat to be caught behind.
Maiden over by pacer Hassan Ali. Good use of fast and slow deliveries keeps Najib guessing. Pakistan's bowlers have been very miserly over the last few overs hardly giving away any runs to Afghan batters. Afg 70/5 in 12/3 overs.
The way this one is going it may finish soon! A good idea then to listen to the thoughts of Mr Cricket UAE Anis Sajan before it's all over...
There was a window of opportunity for Afghan batters but Janat holes out against Imad. How much can they get to from here?
Fifth wicket down. Imad strikes again. Janat out on 15 trying a slog. Caught on midwicket by Fakhar Zaman. Superb bowling by Imad who picks his second wicket in his fourth and last over over the spell. AFG 65/5.
50 up for Afghanistan
Afghanistan cross the 50-mark in the seventh over but one would be surprised if they can bat their full quota of overs. Their batsmen perhaps thought their only way lay in attack against an attack of this class, but there has to be someone to anchor the innings to give it some respectability.
Pakistani pacers continue to get wickets and keep the pressure on Afghan batters who are tying to hit big in a bid to accelerate the run rate. Shaheen, Imad, Rauf and Hasan have so far bowled well and succeeded in sending the top Afghan batters back to the pavilion. Experienced Najib (4 in two balls) and young Janat (11 in seven balls) are on the crease now trying to build a partnership. AFG 49/4 in six overs.
Afghanistan lose their fourth wicket. Rahmanullah Gurbaz hits one up in the air trying for a six off Hassan Ali on his first delivery of the over but captain Babar Azam is under it. AFG 39/4 in 5.1 overs.
A soft dismissal for Afghanistan as Asghar Afghan, a former skipper and their most experienced batsman, almost ends up giving a practice catch to Haris Rauf. Nabi's decision to bat first against an attack of this quality is not working as of now. It's 33/3
Third wicket down. The hero of the last match against New Zealand, right -arm Harif Rauf strikes with a quick delivery with extra bounce that Asghar Afghan chips up for a simple return catch. AFG 33/3 in fifth over. Janat, younger brother of Afghan who just got out, comes to bat next.
Wicketkeeper Muhammad Rizwan misses a big run out. Rahmanullah runs from the non-striker's end to take a quick single only to be sent back by Afghan but Imad can not collect Rizwan's throw. Afghan takes the opportunity and hits Imad for a six and a four in the same over.
Afghanistan two down as Shehzad tries to hit through the line at a Afridi delivery which came back to him and was caught at mid-on at the circle. The batsmen are yet to settle down against the quality of this attack. 13/2 after 3 overs.
Big wicket. Shaheen Shah Afridi strikes. Shehzad caught by Babar Azam on mid on while trying to hit big. Afghanistan batters look to hit Pakistani bowlers but so far failed to do so. Afridi and Imad succeed in putting pressure on Afghanistan who are 13/2 in three overs.
An early loss for Afghanistan as Hazratuallah Zazai miscues a shot off Imad Waseem in trying to give the charge at powerplay. Afghans need to put enough runs on the board to put pressure with their spinners later.
Imad Waseem strikes. Big hitter Hazrat Zazai gets outside edge on a ball moving away and is caught by Haris. Afganistan 7/1.
Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi opens Pakistan bowling attack keeping Afghanistan batters in check and hitting at least three balls on the pads. Afghanistan are hoping to score a decent total to put pressure on Pakistani batters using their world class spinners. Afghanistan strives to win their first ever T20 against Pakistan while Pakistan eye a hat-trick of wins in this tournament.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have played one T20 only against each other - in December 2013. Pakistan won that match in the last over with one ball to spare.
Afghanistan XI: 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Mohammad Shahzad, 3 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 6 Asghar Afghan, 7 Gulbadin Naib, 8 Karim Janat, 9 Rashid Khan, 10 Naveen-ul-Haq, 11 Mujeeb-ur-Rahman
Pakistan XI: 1 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
Afghanistan skipper Mohammed Nabi wins the toss and decides to bat. Their best chance, in the words of Nabi, is to put a 160-plus total on the board and try and defend it all. An interesting battle on the cards.
Welcome to Dubai International Stadium. A big buzz ahead of the Super-12 match here between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a home derby of sorts. The stadium is slowly filling up and there is sizeable number of Afghanistan fans.
Form team Pakistan looking to keep winning run going
By Gautam Bhattacharyya, Senior Associate Editor
Dubai: Pakistan, buoyed by two twins against India and New Zealand in Group 2 of the Super-12s of the ICC T20 World Cup, take on Afghanistan in a ‘home’ derby of sorts at the Dubai International Stadium this evening.
While the wins may have put the 2009 champions firmly on the road to the semi-finals, Pakistan will not want to take their feet off the pedal against a potentially dangerous Afghanistan team. Babar Azam’s men are certainly the form team in this tournament so far, along with England, and what must be doubly satisfying for them was the way they came out winners in contrasting fashions in their two games so far. While they had traditional rivals India on the backfoot for most of the game, they kept their nerves in a low-scoring thriller to prevail against New Zealand in Sharjah the other day.
Expect a sizeable number of supporters from both teams at the terraces, if past crowds from their matches are any indication.