Pakistan vs Afghanistan, a nail-biting encounter

Pakistan survived a scare against Afghanistan in World Cup 2019. Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib conceded 18 in the 46th over and leaked eight runs in four balls in the final over to return wicketless and dejected.

Stewards control spectators during the match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley in Leeds.   -  AFP

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been thorny for long. The tension rubbed off on the match in Leeds as supporters from both the countries got into a scuffle. The airplanes, hovering over the ground with cryptic messages, escalated the pressure.

After scoring 227-9, the Afghan spinners kept the Pakistan batsmen on tenterhooks till Imad Wasim held his nerve to stay unbeaten on 49 off 54 balls. The Welsh-born Pakistani smashed the winning runs with two balls to spare keeping his team alive in the tournament.

Nobody expected a Pakistan-Afghanistan match to go down to the wire. There was a lot of fire in the belly and spin on the wicket.

Finger spinners Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi sent the Pakistan top order back to the pavilion inside 18 overs. Mujeeb struck off his second ball, trapping Fakhar Zaman in front of his stumps. Nabi picked up Imam-ul-Haq (stumped) and Babar Azam (bowled) in a span of eight balls to tighten the proceedings.

At one stage, Pakistan needed 28 off 24 balls when Wahab Riaz walked in to bat with a fractured finger.

His free-spirited attitude earned him 15 runs off nine balls comprising a much-needed six and a four.

Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib, who conceded 18 in the 46th over, leaked eight runs in four balls in the final over to return wicketless and dejected.