T20 World Cup: Pakistan survive Afghanistan scare as Asif Ali’s late flurry banishes huge upset

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 (AP)
(AP)

Asif Ali struck four sixes in the penultimate over to see Pakistan clinch a five-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup Super 12s with only six balls to spare in Dubai.

Pakistan maintained their flawless start to the tournament with their third successive victory against an Afghanistan side who had fought back to put themselves in a good position.

At the end of the 18th over, Pakistan needed 24 from 12 deliveries and Ali had faced just one ball, but Karim Janat struggled to execute the yorker and was taken for 24 in his six balls against Ali, who finished with 25 from just seven balls.

Earlier in the innings Rashid Khan claimed his 100th T20 international wicket, becoming the fastest player to do so in just 54 matches, when Mohammad Hafeez picked out Gulbadin Naib in the deep for just 10 runs.

Fakhar Zaman and captain Babar Azam put on a crucial partnership which saw the score reach 72-1 at the halfway point. Azam top-scored with 51 from 47 before being bowled by Rashid in the final over of the leg-spinner's spell.

But despite him finishing with figures of 2-26, it was not enough for Afghanistan in the end. They had struggled to make runs and had only scored 104-6 by the end of the 17th over.

However the following over was an expensive one, with Naib doing the damage as 21 came off Hasan Ali. The penultimate six balls of the innings followed in similar fashion, with Haris Rauf taken for 15 including three boundaries to help Afghanistan reach a respectable total of 147-6, as Naib finished with 35.

The result ensures Pakistan consolidate their position at the top of the table while Afghanistan sit second with one win and one defeat so far in the Super 12s stage.

Additional reporting by PA Media.

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