Twitter Reactions: Imad Wasim steers Pakistan home in a last-over thriller as Afghanistan crumble under pressure

Twitter Reactions: Imad Wasim steers Pakistan home in a last-over thriller as Afghanistan crumble under pressure

Wahab Riaz and Shadab Khan also played a crucial role when Pakistan looked down and out.

Imad Wasim
Imad Wasim. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Wow! Afghanistan have something in it them when it comes to facing the Asian teams. Like India, they also stretched Pakistan but agonisingly fell short of the victory again. Pakistan have somehow managed to stay alive in the World Cup. They won the last over thriller courtesy a heroic knock from Imad Wasim and also the way Wahab Riaz kept his nerves in the end. Afghanistan had it in the bad when Sarfaraz Ahmed was run-out in the 39th over. But Pakistan took the game deep and the Afghan skipper Gulbadin Naib unfortunately crumbled when it mattered the most.

Chasing a tricky total of 228 runs, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman in the very first over with Mujeeb Ur Rahman trapping him in front of the stumps. Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq then easily batted to stitch a partnership when batting looked like a stroll in the park. But Mohammad Nabi turned the game on its head by picking both the wickets in successive overs.

The partnership of 72 runs was broken and suddenly the Men in Green were 81/3. This is where Afghanistan sensed a chance and they strangled the opposition with the spinners. Pakistan needed another partnership in the middle and at one stage, it seemed as if Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail will do it. But just when the things had started to look comfortable, Mujeeb came back to strike and once again, the match turned.

Rather, from here on, Afghanistan bossed the proceedings with Rashid Khan also coming into his own. The leggie pinned Haris Sohail while Sarfaraz Ahmed ran himself out to leave his team in the hole at 156/6. The required run-rate began to increase even as Imad Wasim and Shadab started to muster runs somehow against the spinners. The equation came down to 48 runs off the last five overs.

Gulbadin took the ball in his hands and Imad who had no clue while facing Rashid just got stuck into the Afghanistan captain. Naib crumbled under pressure and conceded 18 runs off the 46th over to loosen the grip. But still the Afghan spinners, Mujeeb Ur Rahman kept the team in the game by bowling an exceptional 48th over to leave 16 to defend off the final two overs.

However, Imad and Wahab Riaz kept their nerve, in the end, to seal the chase in the final over with the former hitting the winning runs.

Pakistan bowlers restrict Afghanistan

Earlier, Afghanistan decided to bat first after winning the toss and got off to a brisk start. The ball was coming nicely on the bat and Rahmat Shah and Gulbadin Naib enjoyed it. They scored some quick boundaries before Shaheen Afridi nipped out the latter and also sent back Hashmatullah Shahidi off the very next delivery. However, Rahmat continued playing some delightful shots.

But yet again, he was guilty of throwing away a start. Facing Imad Wasim, the batsman closed his bat face a bit early with an aim to nudge the ball for a single but ended up edging it to the covers fielder. At 57/3, a collapse was on the cards. But Asghar Afghan came out with an entirely different intent and scored runs at a brisk pace. He took a special liking to Shadab Khan and put Pakistan under pressure.

At the other end, Ikram Ali Khil was playing a laboured knock but it perfectly suited to the situation with his partner going all guns blazing. The duo added 64 runs for the fourth wicket to keep the opposition under the pump. But Shadab Khan won the battle with the former Afghanistan captain and even Ikram lost his cool to leave his team reeling at 125/5.

This is where the run-rate came down as well even though another partnership blossomed. Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran took their time but the former mistimed a Wahab Riaz bouncer and was holed out in the deep. Even Najibullah got out when the time came to up the ante. He scored 42 and looked extremely good while he was at the crease. Eventually, without the final flourish, they finished with 227 runs for the loss of nine wickets after 50 overs.

Shaheen Afridi shined with the ball again for Pakistan as he returned with the figures of 4/47 while Wahab Riaz and Imad picked two wickets each. Afghanistan fought extremely hard until the last over but they fell agonisingly short of the victory in the end as Pakistan stayed alive in the competition.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: