Malik's unbeaten fifty saves Pak the blushes

Shoaib Malik (left) celebrates after guiding Pakistan to victory

Experienced Shoaib Malik conjured up a crucial unbeaten 51 under pressure as Pakistan survived a scare from Afghanistan, winning their Super Four match of the Asia Cup by three wickets, here on Friday.

Chasing a competitive 258 to win, Pakistan overhauled the target with just three balls to spare with former captain Malik playing the match-winning knock from 43 balls.

Pakistan required 10 runs from the last over and Malik dispatched pacer Aftab Alam for a six and four after playing a dot ball.

Wickets kept falling for Pakistan with star Afghan spinner Rashid Khan yet again proving his utility with a three-wicket haul but Malik held his nerve to keep one end tight.

Before Malik, Imam-ul-Haq (80) and Babar Azam (60) hit patient half-centuries in a 154-run stand but the slow run rate made it difficult for Pakistan.

Electing to bat, Hashmatullah Shahidi (97) missed out on his maiden ODI hundred by just three runs after skipper Asghar Afghan hit a combative 67 off 56 balls as Afghanistan scored a fighting 257 for six.

Their 94-run partnership and some terrific batting towards the end by the Afghans made it an interesting contest as they scored 87 runs in the last 10 overs.

Pakistan made a shaky start, losing opener Fakhar Zaman in the sixth ball of the innings, bowled by Mujeeb ur Rahman, but after that Azam and Imam took control of the proceedings, though the run-rate was always shooting up.

At the half-way mark, Pakistan had put on board just 103 for one with the required rate going beyond six but they had the cushion of nine wickets.

 

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Malik's unbeaten fifty saves Pak the blushes

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