Asia Cup 2018: Discussion points as Pakistan pip Afghanistan
Pakistan stopped in-form Afghanistan's winning-run after clinching a crucial Super 4 clash in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018. Pakistan sealed the match by three wickets after chasing down a target of 258 with only 3 balls to spare. Veteran Shoaib Malik chipped in with a 43-ball 51 to see his side go past the line. Here are the key discussion points.
Imam-ul-Haq showed character and played to his strengths, only a match after charging down the wicket against India and falling cheaply. His role, in this squad, is to build the innings and he did the same this time. Imam struck a watchful 104-ball 80 and showed that he is ready to learn quickly. He was helped by Babar Azam (66) to build the chase.
Veteran Malik needed to stay there and bat till the end, with Afghanistan coming back and picking crucial wickets. He batted with a clam head and took stock of the situation. The asking rate at one stage had risen up to 10 and Pakistan needed the experienced Malik to bat till the final over. He did that and got his side home.
Rashid Khan was, once again, effective as he picked three crucial wickets to shake Pakistan's batsmen. He got the key wicket of Babar and then also sent Md. Nawaz and Asif Ali back to the hut. The 20-year-old made a meal out of this tense encounter and almost got his side home. Off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was terrific with the new ball.
Afghans went past the 250-run mark with Hashmatullah Shahidi scoring a defiant 97*. The middle order batsman deserved a maiden ODI century. What bodes well for Afghanistan is that every match some different batsman is coming up and taking charge of the ship.