Agencies /Abu Dhabi
Shoaib Malik hit a six and a four in the last over as Pakistan clinched a nerve-racking three-wicket win over Afghanistan in a Super Four match of the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi yesterday
Afghanistan scored 257-6 in their 50 overs which Pakistan chased down in 49.3 overs for the loss of seven wickets at Abu Dhabi stadium.
It was three balls from the end that the match finally appeared to have swung decisively. Aftab Alam bowled two poor balls under extreme pressure which the experienced Malik took advantage of to finish off the match with three balls to spare.
Earlier, opener Fakhar Zaman was out for zero but Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Zaman featured in a stand of 154 runs to put Pakistan on course.
However, Imam was run out for 80 and Babar too followed him to the pavilion after making 66 as the Pakistan innings wobbled.
Afghanistan appeared to have the match under control before Malik took charge, the former captain eventually scoring 51 not out to steer his team to victory.
For Afghanistan, Hashmatullah Shahidi missed out on a maiden hundred by a mere three runs but still steered Afghanistan to a challenging 257-6.
Shahidi hit three consecutive boundaries in the final over off Usman Shinwari, but failed to get to three figures off the last delivery after Afghanistan won the toss and batted in the Super Four clash.
Shahidi finished with a brilliantly-paced 118-ball 97 not out, and added 94 for the fourth wicket with his skipper Asghar Afghan, who smashed five sixes and two fours in his 56-ball 67.
But it was Shahidi who held one end against Pakistan’s bowling in an innings which featured seven boundaries after left-arm spinner Mohamed Nawaz (3-57) had put the brakes on Afghanistan’s early progress.
Shahidi had added 63 for the third wicket with Rahmat Shah who scored a measured 36.
The total was an improvement by Afghanistan after scoring 249 and 255 in their previous two wins against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
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