Pakistan captain Babar Azam had no doubts that Asif Ali would deliver when needed as the hitter set off on a six-hit spree to claim a five-wicket win against Afghanistan at the T20 World Cup 2021 in Dubai on Friday.

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After chasing 148, Azam scored 51 runs but came out 17th. With 24 shots needed from the last 12, Asif Ali fired six in the penultimate round to bring Pakistan home – which West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite did in the final version. 2016 against England in Kolkata.

“And he (Asif Ali) is known for this. He has played many roles in the PSL (Pakistan Super League). So I was very confident that he would get us out of whatever problem we find ourselves in.”

“I was confident before the tournament itself that he would do it when needed.” When Pakistan was asked to cruise first, Afghanistan was reduced to 64/5 in 9.1 times, but Gulbadin Naib (35 not out) and Captain Muhammad Nabi (35 not out) shared 71 runs to take Afghanistan to competition 147/6.

“We started well with the bowl, and got in as many gates as we planned. He probably gave up 10-15 throws too much in the end,” Azam said. Chasing the total, Pakistan lost Muhammad Rizwan (8) early but Azam and Fakhar Zaman ( 30) They kept the innings in check with their 63-round stand.

“With bats, we couldn’t take advantage of the powerplay as we wanted. In the end, with Malik and Asif Ali, we knew they could do the job,” Azam said. “We planned our strategies well with the ball, and we also made sure he kept uneven border dimensions in mind while bowling.

“The spinners were getting some control from the track, Afghanistan have good bowlers too and I was trying to get as deep into it as possible. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish things off but the credit goes to Asif Ali.”

Afghanistan captain Muhammad Nabi sought to count the positives from the match after his team went deeper into the match.

“We didn’t start well but the total number of players on the board was good on this court. We discussed 150 would be a good result and so we went in-depth. And then I had some runs in the last few overs,” he said.

“I think three spins is enough. Rashid threw the ball at the right time and we tried to take the game deep. Asif Ali played well in the 19th inning. Lots of positives from today’s game. We fought well to the end.”

Referee for Man of the Match award on 25 unbeaten 7-ball hits, Asif Ali said he was always confident of getting runs. “I was sure to finish it from this end, and this is what I told Shoaib Malik before he left,” he said.

“I look at the state of the match, and target my bowlers accordingly. I was talking to Shoaib when I got into the racket and I told him I was confident enough to get 20-25 in one match against Karim Janat, which I did.”

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