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Asia Cup 2022, PAK vs AFG: 'I practice hitting sixes' - Naseem Shah after steering Pakistan into Final

Pakistan came up with a thrilling finish to its Super 4 clash of the Asia Cup 2022 on Wednesday, ousting Afghanistan by a wicket. Naseem Shah hit twin straight sixes in the final over to get the job done while clarifying that he practices hitting sixes.

Asia Cup 2022, PAK vs AFG: I practice hitting sixes - Naseem Shah after steering Pakistan into Final against Afghanistan-ayh
First Published Sep 8, 2022, 2:19 PM IST

Pakistan tail-ender Naseem Shah credited his self-belief and practice sessions at the nets following his final over heroics during the 2022 Asia Cup Super 4 tie against Afghanistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday. Naseem hit a couple of successive sixes in the game's final over to assist his side in defeating Afghanistan and seal its place in the final. It also knocked out arch-rival India in the process. The 22-year-old, who has already ingrained himself with his fast bowling abilities in the competition, changed roles on Wednesday.

"When I went in to bat, I had the belief to hit the sixes. I practice [hitting sixes], and I knew they would bowl yorkers as they had the field up. I just tried, and I executed. We need to have the belief that we can hit. We kept practising in the nets, and I also changed my bat. It worked," Naseem stated after the victory.

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"When you lose the ninth wicket, no one expects you to win, but I had the belief that I can. I practice hitting a lot. It will be a memorable game for me. Everyone's forgotten I am a bowler," added Naseem. Pakistan required 20 runs off ten deliveries with a couple of wickets in hand, with Naseem coming in.

Before coming out to bat on Wednesday, Naseem had only faced a delivery in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). Panic had set in following Asif Ali's dismissal off the fifth ball of the penultimate over. With the Men in Green needing 11 off the last six balls, Naseem took it upon himself and finished off the game, sealing the Final berth.

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Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said Naseem's batting reminded him of legendary former Pakistani batter Javed Miandad. He had hit that famous last ball six off legendary former Indian pacer Chetan Sharma to defeat India in Sharjah in 1986. Azam wasn't even born when Miandad's magic allowed Pakistan to clinch the Austral-Asia Cup.

"Asif was batting when I came in, and my job was to give him strike, but when he got out, I thought it was all on me. I was in the dressing room. But, in the back of my mind, I thought it was cricket, and I have seen Naseem bat like this, so I had a little belief," said Azam.

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"This reminded me of Javed Miandad's six in Sharjah. The dressing room was quite a tense environment. We couldn't build partnerships like the last few games, but the way Naseem finished it, you could see the mahaul [atmosphere] after that," Azam concluded. Pakistan will play Sri Lanka in the summit clash at the same venue on Sunday.

(With inputs from PTI)

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