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Naseem Shah's Strike On Final Ball Of Last Over Despite MCC Rule Change Stirs Controversy

The fate of Pakistan vs Afghanistan match swung like a pendulum with the result ultimately being sealed with two consecutive sixes from Naseem Shah.

Naseem Shah sixes

Image: AP


The ongoing Asia Cup 2022 has witnessed several nail-biting clashes with matches going on till the very last over. The trend continued with Pakistan and Afghanistan producing yet another high-strung contest. The fate of Pakistan vs Afghanistan match swung like a pendulum with the result ultimately being sealed with two consecutive sixes from Naseem Shah. However, Pakistan's victory on Wednesday has also raised questions about Naseem Shah taking a strike on the final ball of the second-last over. 

Asia Cup 2022: Was Naseem Shah right to take the strike?

Naseem Shah faced the final ball of the 19th over after Fareed Ahmad had dismissed Asif Ali caught by Karim Janat. The pacer took a single on the final delivery and retained the strike for the final over. However, the question remains whether Naseem should have been allowed to be on strike on the final ball of the second-last over. 

According to the new MCC rules, the new batters will be on strike for the next ball even if the players in the middle cross while a catch is taken. However, the rules will come into effect in October which means at present, the old rules are applied which allow the strike to change before a catch has been taken.

Pakistan vs Afghanistan match highlights

Pakistan, having won the toss, opted to bowl first against Afghanistan. Openers Hazratullah Zazai and wicket-keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz provided a steady opening stand before Pakistan's Haris Rauf broke the partnership by dismissing Gurbaz. Despite losing an early wicket, Zazai continued to attack Pakistan bowlers before Mohamad Hasnain castled the stumps. After losing two wickets inside 50 runs, Karim Janat (15) and Ibrahim Zadran (35 off 37) steadied the innings before Jannat fell victim to Mohammad Nawaz.

Najibullah Zadran was next to be dismissed by Shadab Khan. Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi failed to open his account, while Ibrahim Zadran also lost his wicket while trying to improve the scoring rate. Rashid Khan's unbeaten cameo of 18 from 15 balls ensured Afghanistan reach at least close to the 130-run mark.

Pakistan's run chase did not get off to a flying start as skipper Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman departed inside 20 runs. Mohammad Rizwan was dismissed by Rashid Khan to put Pakistan in more trouble. Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan stitiched a crucial partnership which seemed the duo could snatch the game. However, Afghanistan bowlers attempted to fight their way into the match while claiming wickets at regular intervals. Just when it appeared that Afghanistan had the match in their grasp, Naseem Shah's two consecutive sixes from Fazalhaq Farooqi sealed the deal. 

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