Pakistan and Afghanistan were engaged in a humdinger at the Asia Cup 2022 edition on Wednesday (September 07). Playing at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah, both sides entered the game with a different agenda on mind. A win for Pakistan would’ve ensured them a place in the final, along with Sri Lanka, whereas Afghanistan had to emerge on top to remain alive in the Super Four.
Afghanistan’s win would’ve kept India alive in the tournament as well, for another day, but Naseem Shah’s last-over sixes sealed Pakistan-Sri Lanka final. Being asked to bat first, Afghanistan only managed 129-6 on a tricky surface with Haris Rauf standing tall for the Men in Green, returning with 2 for 26. In reply, contributions from Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed and finishing cameos from Asif Ali-Naseem took Pakistan home by a wicket in another last-over finish at the Asia Cup.
However, tempers flared in the 22-yard cricket strip as Asif and Afghan pacer Fareed Ahmad Malik — who ended with 3 for 31 — got involved in an ugly spat. The incident happened in the 19th over when Asif got out — after hitting a six — and Fareed celebrated in his face. Just then, Asif told him to stay away from him and even showed him the bat; as a warning that he would hit him. Afghan pacer Azmutullah Omarzai was quick to join in but as the incident turned uglier, umpires and more Afghan players came to separate the two whereas Pakistan’s 12th man Hasan Ali asked the opposition side to remain calm.
Here’s the video of the infamous episode:
At the post-match presentation, Pakistan skipper Babar said, “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. Sharjah is always low-scoring, and Mujeeb and Rashid Khan are two of the best bowlers. We just wanted to take the match deep. The way we started with the ball was excellent. In our batting, we didn’t execute our plans very well, but Naseem was outstanding. At the back of the mind, I have seen Naseem play like this earlier, and I had the belief in him. This moment reminds me of Javed Miandad’s six. 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.”