Asia Cup 2022: Naseem Shah takes Pakistan into the final; India eliminated along with Afghanistan

Naseem Shah of Pakistan celebrates win during the Super 4 Match 4 of the Asia Cup 2022 against Afghanistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Photo by Deepak Malik / Creimas for Asian Cricket Council

Xtra Time Web Desk: Two back-to-back sixes by Naseem Shah in the final over steered Pakistan into the final of Asia Cup 2022 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday night. Pakistan chased the target of 130 set by Afghanistan by one wicket with four balls remaining. The win by Pakistan meant defending champions were knocked out along with Afghanistan.

The match appeared to be in the bag after Afghanistan were dismissed for 130, however, Mohammad Nabi and Co. gave the Men in Green a run for their money with their exceptional bowling. Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam in the first six overs and when they lost in-form Mohammad Rizwan at the end of the ninth over with just 48 runs on the board, it seemed that the Men in Green were in trouble.

Afghanistan’s bowlers continued piling up the pressure but Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan’s 42-run partnership helped ensure that by the end of the 16th over, the target was within reach. The tide turned in Afghanistan’s favour after the partnership was broken and Pakistan lost quick wickets cheaply.

In the last two overs, Pakistan needed 21 off 12 balls and had just three wickets in hand. In the second last over, Fareed Ahmad took two wickets, including the crucial wicket of Asif Ali.

By the end of his over, Pakistan needed 11 off 6 balls and just had their numbers 10 and 11 — Naseem and Mohammad Hasnain — on the crease. But it was Naseem Shah, who had other ideas as he dispatched both the full toss bowled by Farooqi straight behind into the stands to script a thrilling win for Pakistan.