Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz embrace each other after seeing Pakistan over the line

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Pakistan 230 for 7 (Imad 49*, Babar 45, Nabi 2-23, Mujeeb 2-34) beat Afghanistan 227 for 9 (Asghar 42, Najibullah 42, Afridi 4-47, Wahab 2-29)

Imad Wasim reaped the rewards for managing to scrape through a tough period of batting, hanging on till the end to feast on the nervous, generous medium pace of Gulbadin Naib as Pakistan kept their semi-final push well afloat with a three-wicket win at Headingley. Imad"s unbeaten 49 and his crucial partnerships with Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz saw Pakistan through their last 11 overs, a period where they had to contend with Afghanistan"s spinners on a turning pitch and get more than run-a-ball with just four wickets in hand.

It seemed like neither team particularly made the extra push for control. Pakistan had Afghanistan 57 for 3 and resorted to defensive bowling. Afghanistan recovered only to hand the game back in two overs. And then, Pakistan replicated them in the chase until they looked down and out, starting at a shattering loss. Then they were handed 28 of the easiest runs over 10 balls from Gulbadin Naib, who went for 73 in 9.4 overs.

This undid all the good work by their spin attack, which on the day had turned into a four-pronged one after seamer Hamid Hassan hobbled off early in the innings with an injury. Filling in for him was experienced allrounder Samiullah Shinwari, who last bowled for Afghanistan in March against Ireland.

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The conditions almost exclusively helped spinners, and Shinwari benefitted, much like Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mohammed Nabi, and Rashid Khan had. His figures read a creditable 8-0-32-0. With 46 required off five overs and Imad struggling to pick the spinners, Gulbadin"s decision to bowl himself over Shinwari cost them 18 in the 46th over.

More to follow

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