T20 World Cup: Pakistan on brink of semi-finals after beating Afghanistan

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ICC Men's T20 World Cup Dubai: Afghanistan 147-6 (20 runs): Nabi 35*(32), Gulbadin35*(25); Imad 2-26 Pakistan 148-5 (19 runs): Babar 51, Fakhar 30 (25), Asif 25, (7); Rashid 226 Pakistan won by five wickets Scorecard Tables

After a thrilling five-wicket victory against Afghanistan in Dubai, Pakistan is now on the verge of reaching the semi-finals at the Men's T20 World Cup.

Pakistan was cruising along in a chase for 148 runs until captain Babar Azam was caught by Rashid Khan and bowled for 51.

Shoaib Malik was caught behind during the next over, but Asif Ali, who had 24 balls left, hit four sixes in 19th over to win the match with six balls remaining.

Asif completed the show with a remarkable 25 out of seven balls. This sent a loud crowd wild in closing minutes.

Afghanistan played their part in the thriller. They were beaten to 147-6 by a seventh-wicket stand that was unbeaten at 71 between Mohammad Nabi (Gulbadin Naib), who each made 35 not out.

After a fast start, they were 76-6. The atmosphere was electric between Pakistan's bowlers and Afghanistan's attacking strategy.

With three wins in three, Pakistan is undoubtedly a favourite for the tournament.

India and New Zealand are the other two teams in the group. Pakistan will play Namibia and Scotland, the two teams with the lowest ranking remaining in the tournament, in their remaining games.

Asif Ali - "Remember the Name"

From 19 balls, Asif hit seven sixes in this tournament

Friday was the day that this tournament really came to life. Although there were some standout moments, the tournament ended without any thrilling finals. West Indies defeated Bangladesh in the final ball. Asif brought chaos to Dubai.

Afghanistan was undoubtedly favourites after Naveen-ul Haq had dismissed Malik. He conceded only two runs in 18th over.

Asif also won Pakistan with 27 runs against New Zealand in their last match. He had only faced one delivery and launched the penultimate ball, bowled over by Karim Janat over the stands.

Janat hit two yorkers in each of the three following balls, but Asif followed up with a six over middle-wicket and another over long-on.

This brought the equation down to 12 runs from eight balls, but it is still not certain.

Asif continued his clean and devastating hitting as he hit the next two balls on the off-side to win in spectacular style.

It was a match that was very similar to the World T20 final in which Ben Stokes was hit with four consecutive sixes from Carlos Brathwaite in West Indies’ win. The England all-rounder also tweeted the famous comment line following Asif's heroics...

Babar and Rashid fight a memorable battle

This match was memorable even before the final.

Two of the best T20 players in the world, Pakistan's Babar and Afghanistan's Rashid, engaged in a thrilling chase that saw the crowd cheering their names.

Rashid was kept back until the 11th, but in the head to head Babar overturned a lbw decision of 36 and was dropped by Naveen diving at the backward point on 50.

Rashid Khan is third in men's T20 bowling rankings, and Babar is second in the bat rankings

Babar seemed to have won until he was bowled out by a googly, the last ball of Rashid’s spell.

It was a great match in a game that also saw Pakistan's bowling shine again. In an explosive opening, Haris Rauf (1-37) reached 95 mph while Shaheen Afridi (2-2) hit 94 mph. This once again proved that Pakistan is serious contenders.

"Pakistan looks like a side with it all" - that's what they said

Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan captain: "We didn’t start really well. The total on the board wasn’t great but it was enough. We were able to win the game. This is a positive experience that has many benefits. We fought until the end, and that's what has given me more motivation for winning games."

Asif Ali, the player of the match: "The boundary was too small at this end so I told my friend I would go for it this turn. I consider the situation, what it requires, which bowler has overs left, and the field setting. Shoaib told me that Naveen was good at bowling and I could score 25 runs per over. It was what I had planned.

Stuart Law, ex-Australia batter and West Indies coach in Test Match Special on BBC: "Pakistan looks like a side with it all. That'll make international teams nervous. They can defeat anyone if things go their way. They are so dedicated and have so much talent. They are definitely the team to be watching in this tournament.