Asif Ali and Fareed Ahmed Malik are about to split up on Wednesday.© AFP
Pakistan qualified for the Asia Cup final after beating Afghanistan by one wicket in a thrilling match at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium on Wednesday. Chasing a goal of 130, Pakistan needed 11 runs from the last remaining, with tail-enders Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain in the middle. While it looked like Afghanistan could defeat Pakistan, Naseem had other ideas. The pacer hit two sixes of Fazalhaq Farooqi’s first two balls, sending the Pakistani locker room into a frenzy.
Before those two balls, drama ensued as Pakistan lost over the wicket in the fifth ball of 19th to Asif Ali who hit Fareed Ahmed Malik for a six in the previous ball. Not only did Fareed sack Asif, he immediately went to confront the batter and performed a fist pump to celebrate the wicket. However, Asif didn’t like Fareed’s actions, and he raised his bat, but then started to walk away. Fareed also made a shoulder shake to Asif as the batter walked back.
Fortunately, other Afghan players intervened and separated the two players.
Watch: Fight between Asif Ali and Fareed Ahmed Malik
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Pakistan’s win meant that India and Afghanistan are out of the equation for Sunday’s final as they are winless from two games. With four points each, Pakistan and Sri Lanka qualified for the title fight.
Invited to bat, Afghanistan put in 129 for six with Ibrahim Zadran as the top scorer with a 37-ball 35. Pakistan chased the goal with four balls left, reaching 131 for 9 in 19.2 overs.
Shadab Khan scored the highest score for Pakistan with 36, while Iftikhar Ahmed made 30. For Afghanistan, Fareed Ahmad and Fazalhaq Farooqi each took three wickets, while Rashid Khan took two.
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