Pakistan Vs. Afghanistan fixtures have gradually become one of the most thrilling matches in cricket. The level of enthusiasm and excitement on both sides in the face-off is unlike any other match in cricket. It even exceeds Pakistan against. India and England vs. Australia at times.
The high-octane matches between the two teams have always captivated multi-nation cricket tournaments and this was no exception during the 2022 Asia Cup as they played out another thrilling finish.
Both teams have played exciting matches over the last several years. In all, Pakistan has faced Afghanistan in 4 ODIs. And the Men in Green have come winning on every occasion, but only barely. Let’s take a review the five most close matches between the two sides.
5. Only T20I (2013)
The very first T20I played between these two teams was an unforgettable one, because of the heroics of Mohammad Hafez’s team to rescue Pakistan from the jaws defeat. The match that was played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on the 13th of June 2013 was everything that a fan of cricket could wish for.
Afghanistan batted first , but could only put up 137/8 in just 20 overs while the Pakistani bowling attack was a challenge for batters all through the match. Junaid Khan was the star of the evening when he scored three runs in four overs.
Pakistan began off to an impressive start thanks to Ahmed Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan before losing openers in quick sequence in the middle of the match. In came Pakistan’s captain Mohammad Hafeez, who stabilized the pitch before turning the bowlers.
Hafeez’s match-winning tally of 42 runs in 37 balls helped Pakistan to a thrilling win over Afghanistan with six wickets left. In the end, Pakistan won 1-0 in the series victory in the sole T20I on the trip.
4. Asia Cup 2018
The two teams met during the ODI format during the 2018 Asia Cup. The game was a historic affair when The Men in Green clinched victory in the final over of the game.
Afghanistan batted first, once more and put up a good score of 256/7 over 50 overs. Hashmatullah Shahidi scored a 97-run unbeaten to score 97 for Afghanistan as Mohammad Nawaz was the star on the ball, when he scored 3/5 in his 10 overs.
Pakistan began the run-chase with a bad foot when Fakhar Zaman returned in the very first round of the game. Imam-ul-Haq along with Babar Azam played an amazing partnership before losing their wickets fast. Pakistan lost wickets on a regular basis, with Shoaib Malik securing the team together.
With 10 runs left on the final over, Malik took the opportunity to smash the ball with a six and four to send his Green Shirts home in a thrilling end.
3. 2021 T20 World Cup
In 2021, the T20 World Cup presented another exciting match of the teams. Again, Afghani hearts were broken by Pakistani batters who managed to get past them in a challenging run-chase.
Afghanistan began the game first, and an energetic late surge of Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib allowed the team to post an impressive 147/6 overs in just 20 overs. In the Pakistani cricket attack proved awe-inspiring throughout the match , with all five bowlers grabbing crucial wickets.
In response, Pakistan faltered early on due to Afghanistan’s spin attack taking an upper hand in the game. With Pakistan having to score 24 off their final two overs, it was the batsman came on Asif Ali, who took matters to himself. Asif hit the ball with four sixes from Karim Janat’s penultimate ball to grant Pakistan an incredible win.
2. 2019 ICC ODI World Cup
In 2019, the ICC Cricket World Cup match between the two teams was one to remember. It was a thrilling match for the Pakistani players, again in pursuit of a goal, were able to hold their nerves and win another thrilling game.
Afghanistan scored a total of 227/9 overs, with strong contributions from Asghar Afghan, as well as Najibullah Zadran. Pakistan’s young fast bowler, Shaheen Afridi, was the star of the show when he took four wickets and 47 runs in the 10 overs he played.
Again, Pakistan’s opening player, Fakhar Zaman, failed to frighten the scorers, and the blame was placed to Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq. Both batters left after putting up a strong stand, which opened the way for another collapse of the batting order.
The Green Shirts were unable to take on the speed of Afghan bowlers, who lost wickets in a steady fashion. Imad Wasim was the last person who stood between Afghanistan and the victory. Imad was a player that will last a lifetime. He was well-supported by Wahab Riaz who struck the six using his hand broken against Rashid Khan. They Men in Green won the match with just two balls left.
1. 2022 Asia Cup
Pakistan and Afghanistan’s clash at the 2022 Asia Cup is one of the most memorable matches in cricket history. For the second time, Pakistan snatched victory from Afghanistan by executing an astonishing heist.
The Men in Green, chasing 130 points failed to meet their goal when Afghan bowlers tightened their screws at the final. With wickets falling from left, right and centre, chasing down the target appeared to be impossible till Pakistan’s current express pacer Naseem Shah, made his way onto the field.
With one wicket left and 12 required runs in the final over, it seemed like a win for Pakistan. Naseem Shah hit back-to-back 6-footers off Fazalhaq Farooqi to bring Pakistan back home, and to break Afghanistan supporters’ hearts once time and time.
Naseem Shah’s last heroic over will be in the memories of Pakistan cricket fans for many years to come. And the way that the Men in Green responded with their backs to the wall will be forever remembered.