Following the one-wicket win in the Super Four clash against Afghanistan, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam heaped praise on Naseem Shah and said that his last over sixes reminded him of Pakistan's legendry former cricketer Javed Miandad's six in Sharjah.
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 to a win but Naseem's two sixes in the last over sealed a win for Pakistan.
Javed Miandad had smashed a last-ball six in Sharjah off Chetan Sharma to clinch the Austral-Asia Cup for Pakistan.
"At the back of the mind, I thought this is T20 cricket, and I have seen Naseem bat like this, so I had a little bit of belief. This reminded me of Javed Miandad's six in Sharjah," Babar said at the post-match presentation.
"In our batting, we didn't execute our plans very well, but Naseem was outstanding. To be honest, the dressing room was very tensed. The team was walking in and out of the dressing room. Excellent with the way Naseem Shah finished it off," he added.
Babar said that they want to continue this momentum in the next matches and don't want to repeat their mistakes.
"We would like to continue this momentum and not repeat our mistakes. Every day is a different day, and we would like to take it day by day," said the Pakistan skipper.
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.
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 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 rebuilt 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. Pakistan was 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 played some sensible cricket and brought Pakistan back into the contest.
At the end of 15 overs, Pakistan was at 85/3, with both batters on 29* each.
A 42-run stand between the two 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 to 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 good 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.