Among all the brilliant performances in the ongoing T20 World Cup so far, one player who has caught everyone's attention has undoubtedly been Pakistan's batsman Asif Ali. The explosive right-handed batsman came into the tournament with a reputation of hitting big sixes but it was always going to be an intriguing watch if the 30-year-old would be able to deliver for his side in crunch situations at the mega event.
Asif Ali certainly lived up to the expectations against New Zealand when his destructive 12-ball 27-run knock powered his side to a crucial victory. The way he smashed the ball was something that had left everyone baffled but little did everyone know that he was going to repeat his heroics once again, just a couple of days later.
6, 0, 6, 0, 6, 6 - 19th over for Pakistan
As Pakistan locked horns with Afghanistan in Dubai on Friday, the game had tilted in the favour of Mohammad Nabi's side when a well-set Babar Azam and experienced Shoaib Malik were dismissed during the run-chase. 24 runs were required off the last 2 overs and the onus was once again on Asif Ali.
Afghanistan pacer Karim Janat missed his length on quite a few occasions and the explosive batsman was never going to miss out on any opportunity. He smashed a huge six over long-off on the first delivery before slogging the third ball over the deep mid-wicket fence.
He ended the over by striking two more sixes, one straight down the wicket and the other towards deep-c0ver, as his four sixes in the over ensured an emphatic win for Pakistan with an over to spare. It felt like nostalgia for cricket fans as Asif Ali literally recreated the Carlos Braithwaite magic from the 2016 WC Final, where he had smashed four sixes off the bowling of Ben Stokes.
Watch Asif Ali's sixes here:
Even Ben Stokes, who was at the receiving end of Carlos Brathwaite's power-hitting five years back, could not resist himself from praising Asif Ali. He tweeted, "Remember the name" - the famous three words which on-air commentator Ian Bishop had used to describe Brathwaite's innings against England.
That is some smart and powerful batting: Irfan Pathan
The right-handed batsman played a breath-taking cameo of 25* off only 7 deliveries as Pakistan completed a hattrick of wins to stay at top of Group 2 in Super 12. Former Indian pacer Irfan Pathan also looked quite impressed with Asif Ali, who was also termed as Man of the Match.
While praising his knock, Pathan explained, "The kind of depth he (Asif) uses on the crease, it is outstanding. It's not just hitting anywhere and everywhere. It is just proper smart batting with sheer power. He just goes close to the stumps so he can just get the yorker ball to the half-volley. That is some smart and powerful batting."
The world of cricket has certainly found a new destructive finisher in form of Asif Ali and fans would be hoping to see a few more glimpses of his power-hitting going ahead into the tournament in UAE.