SHARJAH: Pakistan pacer held his nerves calm in a tense run chase and smashed consecutive sixes to power his side over the line and into the final of the Asia Cup 2022.
Afghanistan, after being put into bat first by Pakistan captain Babar Azam, had a flying start to their inning as openers Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Guzrbaz attacked Pakistan bowlers with blistering hitting.
The appeared solid appeared and was dealing in boundaries till the fourth over before Pakistan speedster Haris Rauf castled Gurbaz for 17.
Following Gurbaz’s departure, his partner Zazai also fell soon after in the next over as Mohammad Hasnain outdid him with a slower delivery. The left-handed batter scored 21 off 17 deliveries.
Karim Janat and Ibrahim Zadran then anchored the inning briefly with their 35-run partnership for the third wicket.
Ibrahim was looking impressive amid the stand and was scoring more efficiently, while Janat, who was struggling to get going, perished in the 12th over after scoring a snail-paced 15.
Following his dismissal, Afghanistan began to lose wickets at an alarming rate and soon slipped to 91/5 in the 15th over with their captain Mohammad Nabi being the latest casualty after bagging a golden duck off Naseem Shah.
Afghanistan top-scorer Ibrahim also fell victim to the strong Pakistan bowling attack in the 17th over as the extra bounce and pace stunned the right-handed batter. He scored 35 off 37 deliveries, laced with two boundaries and a six.
Following the slump, all-rounder Rashid Khan stood up for his team and scored an important 18 off just 10 deliveries and bolstered his side to finish at 129/6 in the allotted 20 overs.
Haris led the bowling attack for Pakistan with two wickets, while Naseem, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, and Mohammad Hasnain struck out a batter each.