Afghanistan and Pakistan played a proper cliffhanger at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday (7 September). After posting a paltry 129/6 in their 20 overs, Afghanistan made it really tough for Pakistan to score runs as they kept striking at regular intervals. It was anyone’s game till the 18th over but when Fareed Ahmad got Asif Ali in the 19th over, Afghanistan were certain of a win.
Pakistan needed 11 runs off the last over with their last batting pair on the crease. Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain were all set to face Fazalhaq Farooqi who was breathing fire before that over. He had already gotten Babar Azam, Mohammad Nawaz, and Khushdil Shah. It seemed Farooqi just needs to bowl six legal deliveries and the game is theirs.
But Naseem Shah had completely different plans. He was still thinking about that fierce send-off Asif Ali had gotten from Fareed Ahmad. Came the first delivery from Farooqi, a failed yorker which became a full-toss, and bang, Naseem Shah launched it into orbit with all his might to get six valuable runs. The game was suddenly wide open, with five required of five balls. Farooqi went back to his bowling mark getting ready for the second delivery.
The left-arm quick came running from around the wicket and attempted another yorker and it was a repeat of the first ball. It was another full toss and there was another massive blow from Shah that brought six more runs, won the match for Pakistan, and ended two teams’ hope to move ahead in the tournament. While there was elation in the Pakistan camp, there was devastation on the faces of Afghanistan fans.
They were broken, distraught, and could not fathom what just happened. All this slowly turned into anger and they started misbehaving with Pakistani fans. A video showed Afghanistan fans uprooting chairs and throwing them at their counterparts. With the video going viral, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar criticized the behaviour and complained to former Afghanistan Cricket Chief Shafiq Stanikzai.
“This is what Afghan fans are doing. This is what they've done in the past multiple times. This is a game and its supposed to be played and taken in the right spirit. @ShafiqStanikzai your crowd & your players both need to learn a few things if you guys want to grow in the sport,” tweeted Akhtar.
He shortly got a response from Shafiq who clarified that the emotions of fans can’t be controlled. He then shared a piece of advice for Akhtar and said that he should not blame the whole nation due to some fans. “You can’t control the emotions of the crowd and such incidents happened in the world of cricket multiple, you should go ask Kabir Khan, Inzimam Bhai and @iRashidLatif68 how we treated them. Am giving you an advice next time baat ko nation pe Mat lena,” replied Shafiq Stanikzai.