We did not bowl well in end: Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi after team’s debacle against Pakistan

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi

SHARJAH: After suffering a one-wicket defeat in the thrilling last over of the Super Four stage of the ongoing Asia Cup against Pakistan, Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi said that his side did not bowl well at the end of the innings.

Team India is out of contention for the final as Naseem Shah’s two back-to-back sixes in the first two balls off the final over undid brilliant bowling by Afghanistan throughout the innings, securing a one-wicket win for Pakistan in a thrilling Super Four clash at the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 on Wednesday.
Afghanistan has been shown the exit door but they would be extremely happy with brilliant bowling from Fazalhaq Farooqi (3/31) and Fareed Ahmad Malik (3/31) despite posting just 129/6 on the board. They almost took their side towards a win but Naseem’s two sixes in the last over sealed a win for Pakistan.

Iftikhar Ahmed (30) and Shadab Khan (36) posted valuable contributions for Pakistan. A final between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is set.

“With Pakistan, it is always an exciting match. We did not bowl well in the end. We played good cricket and gave the opposition a tough time always. We started really well but in the last two games, we did not bowl well, ” Nabi said in the post-match conference.

“Look Fazalhaq Farooqi is our main bowler. He bowled the 18th over and took two wickets. He bowled brilliantly. Our plan was to bowl perfect Yorkers. We actually put two options for him to bowl Yorkers or slow bouncers,” he added.

“It was not the batting pitch. On proper batting pitches, you score 180 or 190 and maybe more, but on this pitch, it was not possible. Scoring a low total is tough to defend. We played good cricket and gave the opposition a tough time always. We started really well but in the last two games, we played really well too,” the Afghanistan captain added.

With the win against Afghanistan in the Super Four stage Pakistan booked a spot in the final with Sri Lanka, knocking India out of the Asia Cup final race. “Nobody expected India to lose as they are a good team and we have also played well in Sharjah,” said Nabi.

Afghanistan seamer Fareed Ahmed had a mouthful to utter to Pakistan batter, Asif Ali, as he sent him packing during the penultimate over of the match. Talking about the clash between Asif Ali and Fareed Ahmed, Nabi said, “I was not in the boundary. I don’t know what was happening in the middle between Farheed and Asif. Naseem Shah yes sometimes he can hit the bowl. It was Naseem Shah’s day.”

Talking about the thrilling match, chasing 130, Pakistan was off to a poor start as they lost their skipper Babar Azam for a golden duck. Azam’s horrific run in the tournament continued and he became the first skipper in Asia Cup history to have a golden duck registered to his name.

Another wicket fell soon for Pakistan as left-hander Fakhar Zaman was run out by Najibullah Zadran for 5, reducing Pakistan to 18/2.

After this Mohammed Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed rebuild the innings for Pakistan and kept the scoreboard moving with their good running between the wickets. At the end of six overs, Pakistan was at 35/2, with Iftikhar Ahmed (13*) and Mohammad Rizwan (15*).

Rashid Khan gave Afghanistan their third wicket of the match and his first, trapping Rizwan lbw for 20 off 26 balls. Pakistan was left reeling at 45/3. Ifthikhar Ahmed carried on while Shadab Khan joined him on the crease. At the end of 10 overs, Pakistan was at 52/3, with Shadab (6*) and Iftikhar (19*). Shadab and Iftikhar continued to bat, playing some sensible cricket and sending bad balls out of the fence. They brought Pakistan back into the contest.

At the end of 15 overs, Pakistan was at 85/3, with both batters at 29* each.

A 42-run stand developed between two, which ended after Iftikhar was dismissed for 30 off 32 balls. Fareed Ahmad got the wicket after Ibrahim Zadran caught him at deep-midwicket. Pakistan was now at 87/4 in 15.3 overs.

All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz was the next on the crease. Heading into the final four overs, Pakistan needed 39 runs.

Shadab started the next over bowled by Rashid with a huge six, only to be dismissed by him on the very next ball for 36 runs off 26 balls after he was caught by Azmatullah. Half of the Pakistan team was back in the hut at 97 runs.

Asif Ali was the next batter to join Nawaz and he started his innings with a six. Pakistan needed 25 off the final three overs at this point.

Afghanistan continued their brilliant fight back in the match, with Fazalhaq Farooqi trapping Nawaz leg before wicket for four off five balls. Pakistan was at 105/6. Farooqi continued to build pressure on Pakistan with his superb bowling, cleaning up new batter Khusdil Shah’s stumps in the final ball of the over. At the end of 18 overs, Pakistan needed 21 in the final two overs.

Haris Rauf was up next for Pakistan. But he was clean bowled by Fareed Ahmad for a duck, who got his second wicket in the match.

Naseem Shah was next to join Asif, who was running out of partners at the other end. Fareed Ahmad got his third wicket of the match after he dismissed the dangerman, Asif Ali for 16 off 8 balls after he was caught by Karim Janat.

Mohammad Hasnain was the last man to turn up for Pakistan on the crease, with his side needing 11 in the final over.

Naseem Shah started the next over with a huge six, reducing the deficit to five runs needed off five balls. He also hit the next ball, a full toss for a six, securing a one-wicket win for his country.

Farooqi was Afghanistan’s leading bowler with 3/25. Fareed Ahmad Malik also took a brilliant 3/31. Rashid Khan also took two wickets.

Earlier, brilliant bowling by the Pakistan unit restricted Afghanistan to a subpar 129/6 in their 20 overs in their Super Four clash at the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 in Sharjah on Wednesday. Pakistan had a nice outing with the ball as they did not let any big partnerships develop. Afghanistan would not be happy at all with the show put on by their batters except Ibrahim Zadran (35) to an extent as none of them capitalised on the good starts they got. (ANI)


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