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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Naseem Shah's heroics take Pakis to finals

The first round was sort of irrelevant – India ejected almost immediately of the 2nd round speaks volumes of poor captaincy and more so of the poor Coaching and the way team selection was handled. 


.. .. and if you thought it fit to watch the 10th match between Afganisthan and Pakistan – what a match it turned out to be ! – none could have predicted the winner, more so, the manner in which the match was played – who is the winner and did the other team lose. 

It was the final voer and Naseem Shah, the bowler who had debted in that first match against India at Dubai on Aug 28, was at the crease !  - the man, does carry boisterous energy .. a fiery person, who celebrated having dismissed KL Rahul first ball.  He ran in fast and delivered thunderbolts and today there was another show of aggression .. with all eyes on him !!    

Afghanistan had been contained well by Paki and it looked a cake walk but it was not to be.  Chasing 130 – Pakis were cruising at 87/3 and after 16 were 91/4 – a comfortable position.  They had to negotiate the star Rashid Khan, did well clobbering him for 2 sixers but losing a wicket in the process.  14 runs off it and 1 wicket and so 25 off 18 (last 3 overs) 

Earlier, Pakis had an unchanged 11, won the toss and   opted to bowl first against Afghanistan in Sharjah in their Asia Cup game, the result of which could have had  ramifications for all the teams in the Super 4s. If Pakistan beat Afghanistan, they will qualify for the final along with Sri Lanka, rendering the last two Super 4s games - India vs Afghanistan and Sri Lanka vs Pakistan - inconsequential. Afghanistan would be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Sri Lanka in the first match of the Super 4s. If they win, all four teams will stay alive was the scenario. . Afghan captaqin Mohammad Nabi, who is playing his 100th T20I, said that he also wanted to bowl first. Afghanistan made two changes: Azmatullah Omarzai, who was unwell for the previous game, came back in place of Samiullah Shinwari, and Fareed Ahmad replaced Naveen-ul-Haq, who, Nabi said, had been "rested". 

Afghans who were 3/91 at some stage lost their way – ended up at 129/6 then Babar Azam was dismissed for a duck, Fakhar Zaman 5 (18/2) Iftikhar was 4th out at 87 .. .. then wickets fell in heap.   Over no. 19 produced 2 wickets and Pakistan which needed 21 off 12 ended us chasing sort of improbable 11 off the last over, because it was down to 9 wickets by then. 

Fazalhaq Farooqi their star bowler steamed in and bowled a full toss to last man Naseem Shah who hoisted it over longoff for a 6 and then of the very next again smacked over longoff for another six – taking Pakis over the line for a win and celebrating it wild. 

What an unbelievable match it turned out to be !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th Sept 2022 @ 11.15 pm.


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