Sensational Afridi Seals Final Berth

Pakistan 329 for 7 (Shehzad 103, Alam 74, Afridi 59, Hafeez 52) beat Bangladesh 326 for 3 (Anamul 100, Kayes 59, Mominul 51, Mushfiqur 51* ) by three wickets.


Ahmed Shehzad's fifth ODI century set it up, but Pakistan needed special innings from Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi, who blazed an 18-ball fifty, to pull off their highest chase in ODIs and book a place in the Asia Cup final, against Sri Lanka.

Afridi ransacked 59 off 25 balls, hitting seven sixes during a 69-run stand for the sixth wicket with Fawad Alam that took only 5.3 overs. They resurrected a flagging Pakistan chase, after Bangladesh had surpassed expectations to post 326 for 3, their best ODI score. The game was decided with only one ball to spare.

Bangladesh's bowling and fielding let them down - they were sloppy on the boundary and Mushfiqur Rahim dropped Afridi on 52 in the final moments - and they failed to defend 300-plus for the first time in four attempts.

Pakistan's chase was led by Shehzad, who made 103 off 123 balls, accelerating after a sedate start and adding 105 runs for the fourth wicket with Fawad at 6.70 per over. He fell in the 39th over, and after the curious promotion of Abdur Rehman as pinch-hitter failed, only Afridi could make or break the game. Pakistan needed 102 off 52 balls, and he smote the ball so hard and far during an assault that will not be forgotten by those at the Shere Bangla Stadium. Several faces in the crowd revealed anguish as Afridi bludgeoned the home side.

Between overs 41.2 overs and 46.5, when he was finally run out, Afridi launched sixes over long on, extra cover, long off, midwicket and fine leg. Five of his seven sixes came in his first nine deliveries. His stand with Fawad came at 12.54 an over. He took the bowling and Mirpur by surprise. During the onslaught from Afridi and Fawad, Mahmudullah gave 16 in an over, Shakib 20, Shafiul 16 and Razzak 18 as the asking rate plummeted in the last ten overs.