ICC Men’s T20 World Cup: Pakistan vs Afghanistan

Asif Ali hits 25 off seven balls to take nervy Pakistan home against Afghanistan.

Pakistan's Shadab Khan (L) and Asif Ali celebrate their win [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
  • Pakistan top of Group 2 with two wins out of two.
  • Afghanistan hammered Scotland by 130 runs in their first match.
  • Pakistan won the only T20 these sides have played against each other.
  • Afghanistan have won their last four T20 internationals.

Well, that’s a wrap from us. Afghanistan fought and fought hard. Took Pakistan on right from the start, finished their innings well and held it together for Rashid Khan to pull them through.

He tried, he almost succeeded.

The game was in the balance until Asif Ali unleashed a bit of fury.

Pakistan win by five wickets and the boss is happy:

Pakistan stay top

Babar Azam’s men stay top of Group 2 with three wins out of three.

They have a foot (and some toes) in the semi-finals.

Clinical finish

It’s the end that mattered, Asif says. The shorter boundary was picked by Asif. And it worked.

“I look at the situation, and which bowlers are left. You look at the field placements,” Asif adds.

Pakistan WINS!

AS IF Afghanistan had a chance

That’s what the Pakistan fans will be thinking. Asif Ali, who finished off New Zealand the other day, does it again.


Asif Ali: 25 runs off seven balls.

It’s over.

Pakistan 124-5 (17.5 overs)

Malik’s edged Naveen behind. He’s gone. Are Pakistan’s hopes too?

Afghanistan scored 43 off the last three overs. Those are turning out to be precious runs now.

24 needed off 12.


Pakistan 122-4 (17 overs)

This was meant to be THE over for Afghanistan. It NEARLY wasn’t. But it was.

A six, a double, a wide, dropped catch, a wild throw.. followed by Babar’s wicket.

A wild swing off Rashid’s last delivery for the night and the stumps are knocked back.

Was that needed? For Pakistan, no. For Afghanistan and the good of the game, YES!

26 needed off 18.

Rashid blasted for a six by Malik

Pakistan 110-3 (16 overs)
Target 148

Malik hits it where he hits it best – behind square on the off. That’s a much-needed four for Pakistan.

And Babar also managed to reach his fifty, third half-century in his last four T20s. Captain taking Pakistan close.

[Aamir Qureshit/AFP]

Rashid who?

Incase you were wondering who this Rashid Khan guy is, here’s what you should be reading:

The life and career of Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s cricket prodigy

Pakistan 101-3 (15 overs)
Target 148

Successful over by Rashid but for Pakistan, that’s one less Rashid over to go.

47 needed off 30.

Pakistan 97-3 (14.1 overs)

Hafeez goes and Rashid finally strikes!

Hafeez took on the maestro, doesn’t get the power and finds Gulbadin at long-on. Stadium (half of it) erupts!

For Rashid, it’s 100 T20 international wickets.

Pakistan 97-2 (14 overs)
Target 148

Afghanistan survive a free-hit, Babar mistimes one down the ground and then unable to find the boundary on the off.

Tension in the middle.

51 needed off 36.

Pakistan 89-2 (13 overs)
Target 148

Direct hit in that over but Hafeez survives. Babar hit on the pad but he survives. Babar edges but he survives.

Rashid doing what he does best but Pakistan holding on against him.

59 needed off 42.

Pakistan 81-2 (12 overs)
Target 148

A wicket, an edged boundary for new man Hafeez and three dot balls in that over.

67 needed off 48.

Pakistan 75-2 (11.1 overs)

And the very next ball Fakhar is given lbw off Nabi.

Decision reviewed again. But ball-tracking shows ball hitting. Three reds and Fakhar is off.

73 needed off 53.

Pakistan 75-1 (11 overs)
Target 148

Rashid Khan! Fakhar had all the trouble in the world against the spinner but it’s Babar who is given lbw.

Decision reviewed.

He survives! Just! Babar survives. But Rashid making his mark already. Where was Nabi hiding him?!

Pakistan 72-1 (10 overs)
Target 148

Halfway point of the innings and Pakistan well on their way. But we still have Rashid Khan’s four overs to go.

76 needed off 60.

Pakistan 62-1 (9 overs)
Target 148

Babar hits over point for a welcome boundary. Guides another past the keeper for welcome boundary number two.

Thirteen off the over… and it’s the 50 partnership between Babar and Fakhar.

86 needed off 66.

Pakistan 44-1 (7 overs)
Target 148

Mujeeb keeps it tidy. Fakhar survives. Pakistan watchful.

That’s the summary of the innings so far.

Andy Flower and Shaun Tait in Afghanistan’s dugout. What a sight.

No Rashid Khan yet

Mujeeb will bowl his final over. 3-0-9-1 for now

Pakistan 38-1 (6 overs)
Target 148

End of the Powerplay (and perhaps we’ll see Rashid Khan now).

Pakistan lost Rizwan but moving along. Fakhar with the boundaries, Babar with the singles.

Pakistan 29-1 (4 overs)
Target 148

Close call for Fakhar who sweeps just over Karim at midwicket for a boundary.

But the next ball lands in the stands. Fakhar cutting loose… 14 off that one.

Afghanistan scored 30 off their first four overs.

Pakistan 12-1 (2.3 overs)

Rizwan gone. Mujeeb strikes. Game on!

It’s 68 percent Pakistan

That’s what the broadcaster’s predictor says.

Afghanistan players will have a lot to say about that.

Hold on… they have..

Pakistan 11-0 (2 overs)

Singles, misfield, missed run-out chance and a four.

Things shaping up nicely.. and it’s just the second over of the chase.

Tension (and some dew) in the air.

Pakistan 3-0 (1 over)

Watchful start by Pakistan. Mujeeb drifting it in and Pakistan not taking any chances.

Nabi to open from the other end. All-spin attack for now.

Here we go

It’s Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan with the bats and Mujeeb ur-Rehman (with five wickets in the last match) with the ball.

Can Afghanistan defend this and move joint top on points with Pakistan?

We’ll find out soon.

Tricky chase for Pakistan

Pakistan have done well chasing in the first two games but Afghanistan has Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur-Rehman… doesn’t get an trickier than this.

Who is ready to call this one? *silence*

Great comeback by Afghanistan


Afghanistan 147-6 (20 overs)

Shaheen Shah Afridi. Great at the start, great at the end (except that waist-high no-ball).

Just seven off the last over but Afghanistan did well to reach 147.

They scored just 65 in the first 10 overs. Pakistan need 148 to seal its third win of the tournament.

Afghanistan 140-6 (19 overs)

Swing hard and get your reward.

Nabi edges off Rauf but that’s four for him and nothing for Rauf. Pulls the next over midwicket for another boundary.

Gulbadin joins in with a boundary off his. Fifteen off it… 36 off the last two overs. Precious runs for Afghanistan.

Afghanistan 125-6 (18 overs)

Hasan comes back for his final over and it’s the best off the innings for Afghanistan.

Gulbadin on fire! Six, four, two, two, four, two (a no-ball!), one.

21 off it! Afghanistan looking to finish strong.

Hasan 4-1-38-1 (he did bowl a maiden over!)

Afghanistan 104-6 (17 overs)

What a tidy over from Rauf. Only three off it. Remember, this is the 17th over.

What a turnaround this has been from Rauf.

Afridi love

They miss him, I’m guessing.

Afghanistan 101-6 (16 overs)

Into the last four. Hasan and Shaheen both have an over left. Rauf has two.

Nabi still there for Afghanistan. Rashid Khan to follow.

Buckle up

Afghanistan 93-6 (15 overs)

Shaheen Shah Afridi back for his third. This could be interesting.

Bit of a stampede being reported outside the stadium’s gates. Who wouldn’t want a piece of these teams but then again…

Hopefully everyone’s safe though.

Afghanistan 86-6 (14 overs)

A welcome boundary by Nabi in that over. Afghanistan will really need to press on from here to make a match out of it.

Six to go.


Afghanistan 76-6 (12.5 overs)

Six and out for Najib. Sweeps Shadab for a six but then edges a wrong-un next up with Rizwan making no mistake.

Shadab finishes his quota with 1-22. Tidy. Very tidy Shadab Khan.

Squeeze is on

Afghanistan 67-5 (12 overs)

Hasan Ali bowls a maiden. A maiden over in a T20 World Cup match. Nothing less than a feat!

Last five overs: 16 runs


Reminder than Pakistan has a 100 percent record against Afghanistan in T20s.

Well, they’ve only played once before tonight. Hafeez the only survivor in the Pakistan side from that encounter in 2013. Plenty of those playing in Afghanistan colours tonight were part of that team.

Afghanistan 65-5 (10 overs)

Half of the overs done and Afghanistan are struggling. Need some late hitting to get a decent score on the board.

Will it be captain Nabi to rescue them?

Pakistan spinners, meanwhile, are just being too stingy.


Afghanistan 64-5 (9.1 overs)

This time Janat tries a sweep off Imad but doesn’t get the distance. Fakhar, at midwicket, takes it as calmly as I’ve ever seen anyone take a catch.

That’s half the side gone with the innings almost half done too.

Afghanistan 64-4 (9 overs)

Najib read the last update and thought that was that.

A reverse sweep, a conventional sweep and that’s eight runs.

Afghanistan 55-4 (8 overs)

Things a bit quiet now. Strange.

Shadab and the return of Imad slowing things down. Six runs off the last two overs.

Afghanistan 49-4 (6 overs)

That’s the Powerplay done. Expensive but successful over by Hasan… 10 runs and a wicket.

Afghanistan going at over eight an over but they need to settle down, Mark Nicholas says on air. Yes they do. But that’s how they play their cricket.


Afghanistan 39-4 (5.1 overs)

How many deliveries does it take Hasan Ali to take a wicket? One.

Short, Gurbaz pulls, doesn’t time it well. Babar takes a simple catch running right from mid-on.


Rauf just clocked a 153km/h (95 mph).



Afghanistan 33-3 (4.3 overs)

At 143 km/h, Asghar Afghan hands a simple catch back to the bowler. Rauf strikes in his first over.

Afghanistan in trouble.

Afghanistan 30-2 (4 overs)

First six of the match comes off Rahmanullah’s bat. High and mighty over midwicket. And he followed that up with another over square leg.

Missed runout sandwiched between those hits.

17 off the over. Probably Imad’s last over for a while.


Afghanistan 13-2 (2.4 overs)

Shahzad was riding his luck. Blasted one over cover for Afghanistan’s first boundary but then drove right into mid-on’s hands.

Shaheen strikes. Has an extra spring in his legs today (clocking in at 151km/h)… and why wouldn’t he.

Afghanistan 8-1 (1.3 overs)

Imad strikes for Pakistan. Zazai top-edges a sweep and Rauf takes a good catch running back.

That didn’t take long then.

Afghanistan 5-0 (1 over)

This over had it all.. except a wicket. A wide. A legbye. Play-and-a-miss. LBW appeals. DRS countdown. Singles. Review.

Here we go

Shaheen has the ball in his hands. We know what he did last time Pakistan took on one of its neighbours at this very ground.

Zazai and Shahzad for Afghanistan.

West Indies beat Bangladesh

In today’s earlier game, West Indies have just managed to take home two points – a win by three runs in a match that went to the final ball.

First points on the board for the reigning champions who lost their first two matches.

The loss means it’s tournament over for Bangladesh who can’t reach the semi-finals now.

Home support for both sides

Afghanistan and Pakistan will see plenty of support in the stands. Unable to host matches at home, both sides called UAE home. And it shows in the performance on these grounds as well as the stands.

Afghanistan to bat

Afghanistan won the toss and have elected to bat.

Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Naveen ul-Haq, Mujeeb ur-Rahman.

Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Who is winning today?

Well, you have Pakistan supporters (and former players) backing Pakistan 👇:

Then you have Pakistan fans supporting both sides 👇:

Afghanistan put political trouble behind them

Afghanistan hammered Scotland in their opening match of the tournament, scoring 190-4, batting first before dismissing the opponents for just 60.

Spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan shared nine wickets between them.

They are on a different ground with a much stronger opposition today but Pakistan will think twice before taking Afghanistan lightly.

Pakistan on verge of semi-finals

Pakistan came into the tournament after having their series against New Zealand and England cancelled. The Kiwis pulled out of their tour of Pakistan minutes before the start of the opening match. Three days later, England scrapped their tour.

Prior to that, three of their four T20 in the West Indies were rained off.

But they beat India by 10 wickets in their tournament opener before going past New Zealand. A win today and Pakistan will have a foot and some toes in the last-four.

Afridi (c) took two wickets in his first two overs against India [Satish Kumar/Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera