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T20 World Cup 2021, AFG vs PAK (Super 12): Asif Ali's 19th over blitz hands Pakistan 5-wicket win

Afghanistan came close but could not match Pakistan's intensity, as it was defeated by five wickets in the Super 12s of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup in Dubai on Friday.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Afghanistan vs Pakistan (Group 2, Super 12): Asif Ali, report, result, winner-ayh
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Dubai - United Arab Emirates, First Published Oct 29, 2021, 11:25 PM IST
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There seems to be no stopping former champion Pakistan. On Friday, it defeated neighbouring rival Afghanistan by five wickets in Group 2's Super 12 clash of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 at the Dubai International Stadium. Asif Ali's magic in the 19th over sealed the deal for Pakistan, as it is now a solid favourite to qualify for the semis.

LIVE SCORECARD: ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Afghanistan vs Pakistan (Super 12)

Winning the toss, Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi opted to bat, as both sides went in with an unchanged playing XI. Afghanistan was off to a rocky start, losing openers Hazratullah Zazai (0), Mohammad Shahzad (8), Asghar Afghan (10) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (10) within the sixth over of the Powerplay, with 39 runs on the board.

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25 runs later, Karim Janat departed to spinner Imad Wasim in the tenth, followed by Najibullah Zadran (22) to leg-spinner Shadab Khan in the 13th, at 76. However, thereon, the pair of Nabi (35*) and Gulbadin Naib (35*) took charge of the innings and contributed to an 81-run stand for the seventh wicket, as Afghanistan finished on a par total of 147/6.

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The Pakistanis put five bowlers into the attack, with Wasim claiming a couple, while Shadab and pacer Shaheen Afridi were the most economical ones. In reply, Pakistan lost Mohammad Rizwan (8) to spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman in the third over of the PP, with just 12 runs on the board. However, skipper Babar Azam (51) and Fakhar Zaman (30) put on a 63-run partnership that put the side in a strong position.

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Notwithstanding, Zaman was trapped leg-before by spinner Nabi in the 12th, followed by Mohammad Hafeez (10) to spinner Rashid Khan in the 15th, at 97. 25 runs later, Azam was cleaned up by Rashid in the 17th, followed by Shoaib Malik (19) in the next over to pacer Naveen-ul-Haq, at 124.

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The Afghan bowlers continued to bowl suitable lengths, restricting the hitting abilities of the Pakistani batters. However, in the 19th over, Asif blasted four sixes off medium-pacer Karim Janat to seal a five-wicket win for the Pakistanis, with six balls to spare. The Afghans utilised five bowlers, with Rashid claiming a couple, while Mujeeb ruled it with his economy.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 147/6 (Nabi- 35*, Gulbadin- 35*; Wasim- 2/25) lost to Pakistan 148/5 in 19 overs (Azam- 51, Zaman- 30; Rashid- 2/26) by five wickets.

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